African Press International (API)

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Kibaki rolls out his campaign machine – Fighting for the second term

Posted by African Press International on September 17, 2007

Story by LUCAS BARASA
Publication Date: 9/16/2007

President Kibaki will today launch his re-election campaign in a televised address during which he is expected to quit Narc, the party on which he rode to power in 2002, for the Party of National Unity.

President Kibaki at apublic function. He is expected to address the nation and announce his party for re-election bid today. Photo/FILE

Mr Kibaki has been under pressure by his allies to name his party for the past year following differences in Narc and trooping of his close allies to Narc-Kenya.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service yesterday said the President will make the long-awaited announcement of his re-election vehicle today at 3 pm at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

President Mwai Kibaki will tomorrow Sunday 16th September 2007, make a radio and television address to the nation at 3.00 pm, the three paragraph statement said.

Political party

It added: During the address the President is expected to state the political party on whose ticket he will seek his second and final term of office as President of Kenya, in the forthcoming general elections.

Government sources told the Sunday Nation that the President will defect from Narc and join the new Party of National Unity.

He will also use the address, the sources said, to chart the way forward and the people with whom he will be moving forward another way of saying that he will formally launch his campaign and explain the parties with which he will be working. The announcement will pave the way for the dissolution of Parliament and put the country firmly in a campaign mode for elections which are expected on the week of December 17.

Mr Kibakis key opponents, ODM and ODM-K, have already held their nominations, picking Langata MP Mr Raila Odinga and Mwingi North MP Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, as their flagbearers.

The announcement of Mr Kibakis new party has been delayed due to disagreements among the parties supporting him. But when the he met the Government of National Unity backbenchers on Wednesday, sources said, he promised to name his party this week.

A Cabinet meeting the President chaired on Thursday resolved that PNU be President Kibakis re-election vehicle, the Sunday Nation was informed. PNU was registered on August 23, according to records at the office of the Registrar of Societies.

A committee headed by Science and Technology minister Dr Noah Wekesa had proposed PNU, Grand National Union (GNU), Narc Original and Narc Asili as possibilities but, PNU won the day, the Sunday Nation learnt.

Apart from Dr Wekesa, other prominent members of the coordinating committee of pro-Kibaki parties include Mazingira Party leader and Tetu MP Wangari Maathai, and Democratic Party (DP) of Kenya secretary-general George Nyamweya.

Mr Nyamweya said in an interview earlier in the week: We settled on Party of National Unity (PNU) and we have only been waiting to formalise it.

Yesterday, Housing assistant minister Bett Tett said the new umbrella party could not be Narc because of the problems that forced some members to walk out and join Narc-Kenya.

I doubt. It cant be Narc. Lets wait and see what will be announced, she said by phone.

Parties in the talks are Ford Kenya, DP, Saba Saba Asili, Mazingira, Spark, Safina, Ford People, Shirikisho and Sisi Kwa Sisi.

Safina Leader and Kabete MP Paul Muite yesterday called for the formation of an election board made up of nominees from the pro-Kibaki parties to spearhead the campaign.

PNU will act as an umbrella under which the nine Kibaki-friendly parties will work in the same way 14 parties joined hands ahead of 2002 election to form the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc).

PNU is expected is expected to unveil its symbol today, with the choice being between two lions, two Olympic torches or two rings.

However, records show that people registered as officials of the party are not well known in political circles. Mr J. Nyaboga is registered as the chairman, Mr Albert Muiruri as secretary and Mr Wilfred Apenja as treasurer. Sources close to the presidency said PNU was chosen because the name would be neutral and would bring together all parties backing the President for a second and final five-year term.

We are talking about unity in the country and the unity of all the political parties supporting the Presidents re-election for a second term, the source said.

The name was chosen from a cluster of other parties, which had also been registered. These were the Grand National Union, Narc Original and Narc Asili.

We did not want to resort to the name Narc, which some people associate with particular ethnic communities, the source pointed out. Efforts to come up with a party that will sponsor President Kibaki to defend his seat have been going on for the last two months.

This is after the Narc chairperson, Mrs Charity Ngilu, allegedly failed to cooperate with other members of the ruling coalition who wanted her to join them in discussing how they could use the party as the vehicle for President Kibakis re-election.

Mrs Ngilu has already indicated that she may also seek the presidency on a Narc ticket although sources yesterday said she was holding talks with Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka, the ODM-K presidential nominee.

What has been derailing the naming of the PNU is failure by the pro-Kibaki parties to agree on the mode of nominating their parliamentary and civic candidates.

Whereas some want every candidate to be subjected to primary nominations by the umbrella party as was the case with Narc in 2002, other parties want to sponsor their candidates in their strongholds but support the Presidents re-election. Most of the parties in the proposed coalition prefer the second option.

Dr Wekesa was to name the grand coalition last Friday but some parties asked for more time to consult their National Executive Committees and agree on the proposed mode of nominating their parliamentary and civic candidates.

Some of the parties, which have indicated that they wish to go it alone in the nominations include Ford Kenya, Ford People, DP, Safina and Sisi Kwa Sisi.

But DP, which has already identified its parliamentary and civic candidates especially in Central Kenya and parts of Nyanza appeared to soften its stand on joint nominations.

The Presidents defection, if it comes to pass, will not be without controversy. Already, the Law Society of Kenya is warning him not to move to another party before dissolving Parliament.

LSK boss Okongo Omogeni said if he chooses another party before parliament is dissolved it he will be seen as having defected.

The matter could be made worse when the Speaker is notified in Parliament that he has decamped from the party that sponsored him.

This could have some very serious constitutional, ethical and moral implications, said Mr Omogeni by telephone.

It will mean that he shall have surrendered his rights of being an MP and by extension the presidency. President Kibaki should therefore choose his words very carefully when making his announcement today.

Additional reporting by DAVE OPIYO

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.nation.ke

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