African Press International (API)

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Kibaki’s PNU leaves out key ministers – not to lead the campaign

Posted by African Press International on September 28, 2007

By Joseph Murimi and Abiya Ochola

President Kibakis core national campaign team was unveiled on Wednesday, but with powerful Cabinet ministers left out.

murungaru.jpgAmong those edged out of the list of 28 ahead of the Head of States official campaign launch on Sunday were Internal Security minister Mr John Michuki and his Justice and Constitutional Affairs counterpart, Ms Martha Karua. Also axed were Finance minister Mr Amos Kimunya, Information minister Mutahi Kagwe and his Energy counterpart, Mr Kiraitu Murungi, who only recently got back his job after many months in the cold over corruption allegations.

The team was announced by the Kibaki Tena lobby, the outfit spearheading the Presidents re-election bid.

Trade minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, who is said to be flirting with New Ford-Kenya, was also excluded from the list.

Kanu chairman, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta responds to journalists question at the PNU headquarters near Department of Defense in Nairobi on Wednesday. Looking on are Narc-Kenya chairman, Mr Raphael Tuju (centre), and Democratic Party vice-chairman, Mr Joseph Munyao.

The only Cabinet minister from Central Province in the presidential team is Defence minister, Mr Njenga Karume, who was said to have been building bridges for President Kibaki, including seeking to woo some Opposition politicians to the Government side.Re-appointed Cabinet minister Mr David Mwiraria is in the team, with Cabinet colleague Mr Njeru Ndwiga, representing Meru and Embu districts.

Also in the team that has been crafted to represent regional and party interests and has representatives from all the PNU members is Vice-President Mr Moody Awori. The President launches his re-election campaign on Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi.

Traditionally, members of the presidential campaign team get plum jobs if their party wins the General Election.

The future of Kenya is safe with KibakiThe team is headed by President Kibaki, with Awori as his deputy.Other members of the team are Ford-People leader Mr Simeon Nyachae, Narc- Kenya chairman Mr Raphael Tuju, Ford-Kenya chairman Mr Musikari Kombo and Kanu chairman, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

Others are DP chairman Mr Joseph Munyao, Shirikisho party leader Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere and Cabinet colleagues Mr Kipruto Kirwa, Prof George Saitoti, Mr John Munyes, Mr Mohamed Abdi, Mr Suleiman Shakombo, Mr Henry Obwocha and Mr Mohamed Kuti.

Also in the list are MPs Mr Stephen Tarus, Mr Mohamed Abdi, Dr Wilfred Machage, Mr Marsden Madoka, Mrs Linah Kilimo, Mr Raphael Wanjala, Mr Yusuf Haji and Ms Naomi Shabaan.

DP Secretary-General Mr George Nyamweya and his organising secretary, Mr Jacob Haji, are also in the team.

Kirwa read the list at the Kibaki Tena Secretariat.

Present at the briefing were Uhuru, Tuju, Kirwa, Mwakwere, Obwocha, Karume, Kombo, Shabaan, Munyao, Kilimo, Nyamweya and Haji.

PNU also unveiled its colours, which are predominantly blue, red and white.

Kirwa said the team, which believes in unity, was created to run the national campaign after consultation between the President and leaders of allied parties.

He said the Party of National Unitys abbreviated name is PNU and not Panu.

“Our support for the President is based on the desire to consolidate achievements of the Kibaki Government, Kirwa said.

He said parties in PNU desired joint primaries but each party would recommend the best way forward.

The Agriculture minister said this would enable the parties spare their energies for the General Election.

The party symbol would be unveiled during President Kibakis campaign launch this Sunday.

“The future of Kenya is safe with Kibaki. It means consolidating the gains of this administration, Kirwa said.

The minister said consultations were under way to allow each party to undertake and handle campaigns in their strongholds.

“Each party and regional leaders would handle their regions,” he said.

The issue of who controls campaigns in the different regions for PNU has been thorny, with constituent parties seeking sole rights in their areas.

Kirwa dismissed fears that the Kibaki team had delayed hitting the campaign trail.

“Kutangulia si kufika (Being first to leave does not mean completing a journey)” Kirwa said.

But disagreements over the nomination in PNU persisted.

Experts have now been called onto the negotiating table, according to major stakeholders in PNU, to save the coalition.

The negotiating table consists of the PNU council and representatives from major constituent parties.

Munyao maintained that it would not settle for anything less than individual parties fielding their own candidates.

But Narc-Kenya leaders told DP and other constituent parties to negotiate.

Kimunya said PNU should not be intimidated, hinting that experts had been brought on board.

“The method to be used by the parties under the coalition umbrella should be left to negotiators. Whatever the coalition will decide will be for the good of the country,” said Kimunya.

“If we do not get it right this time like was the case in 2002, then we could kill the future of coalitions. It is important that the negotiators give it the best,” said Kimunya in Nairobi.

Negotiations onKimunya reckoned that the negotiations could go on past the official launch of Kibakis re-election bid.His Co-operatives counterpart Mr Njeru Ndwiga, however, maintained that the nomination would depend on the reality on the ground.

Ndwiga, however, supports his Sports colleague Maina Kamandas view that all urban areas must field candidates under PNU if victory were to be achieved.

Ndwiga dismissed Munyao and by extension DPs stand that they would field their parliamentary and civic candidates nationally.

“Those are individual opinions but what I can tell you is that negotiations are going on, but so far, everybody agrees that we cannot allow the coalition to be disadvantaged,” said Ndwiga.

Meanwhile, preparation for Kibakis big day on Sunday is on, with the Kibaki Tena and Taifa Tekelezi planning how to ferry delegates to the function.

Earlier, Nakuru Town MP Mr William Kariuki said political parties supporting President Kibakis re-election stood no chance of winning parliamentary and civic seats if they fielded candidates separately.

Kariuki said the surest way for them to win in the elections was for all the Kibaki-friendly parties to dissolve and field candidates under PNU.

Elsewhere, leaders from President Kibakis home turf have accused the presidential campaign team of sidelining notable leaders from Mount Kenya.

The leaders now want former powerful National Security minister, Dr Chris Murungaru to be part of President Kibakis re-election campaign team.

Civic leaders from Nyeri District led by Nyeri Town Mayor, Cllr Wanyagah Gathaka, have consequently called for appointment of Murungaru to the Cabinet.

Additional reporting by Caroline Mango, Steve Mkawale and Bancy Wangui

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN


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