African Press International (API)

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Kanu delegates pledge to support Kibaki – The start of unity in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2007

Publication Date: 9/30/2007

President Kibakis hunt for votes yesterday took him to the party he abandoned in 1991.

President Kibaki at the Kanu National Delegates Conference at Kasarani, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/Stephen Mudiari

The President attended Kanus National Delegates Conference at Kasarani, Nairobi, where he pleaded with the hundreds of delegates who gathered there to vote for him in the December polls.

The President waved Kanus one-finger salute as chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta led the delegates in endorsing him for a second term in State House.

He had arrived at Kasarani at 2 pm to a thunderous welcome.

He said he had not imagined he would work with Kanu when he took over power.

Because that is now possible, we should thank God. Lets work together for development, he said, describing Kanus support as absolutely wonderful.

Tafadhali mnipigie kura (please vote for me), he said and urged the delegates to attend todays official launch of his campaign at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi.

I will today sleep well, he said after the delegates pledged their support of his second tenure at State House.

He once again promised free secondary education starting next year and thanked Kenyans for paying taxes.

The mood at Kasarani was however dampened by the absence of Keiyo South MP Mr Nicholas Biwott due to what sources said was a disagreement over a proposal to create the position of party leader for him.

Mr Kenyatta told the delegates the partys constitution would be changed to create the post and announced that Mr Biwott would head Kanus national elections team and sign parliamentary and civic nomination papers.

Some delegates shouted Kibaki must go at the beginning of the event but their protests were drowned by pro-Kenyatta delegates. The master of ceremonies Mr Nick Salat also pleaded for calm and the conference progressed.

After asking the Kanu members to vote for him, President Kibaki proceeded to DP, Ford Kenya and Narc Kenya meetings on a vote-hunting mission. The President had attended a Ford People NDC on Friday.

Mr Kenyatta said the Opposition had played its key role since 2003 and that Kanu wanted to be in Government next year. He said Kanu would retain its identity despite being in the Party of National Unity.

Kanu is ready to work with you, Mr Kenyatta told the President. Mr Kenyatta also asked the President to stop using businessmen to campaign for him and instead use Kanu members at the grassroots. The Kanu chairman said he decided to throw his weight behind President Kibaki because he knew that he would not win the presidential election if he vied this year.

He said Kanu was planning to make a comeback in 2012.

We looked at where our chances and fortunes were best placed to bring our party back to power, he said.

Mr Kenyatta said Kanu had asked President Kibaki to look into eviction of people from forests and harassment of Muslims, among other issues.

He said Kanu youth would get jobs when the party joined the government next year.

The Gatundu South MP promised to lead the party campaigns for President Kibaki.

Mr Kenyatta said he would work with Mr Biwott to strengthen the party.

If we start nominations and they are free and fair, I and Biwott will sign (the certificates) to ensure fairness, he said. He cautioned Kenyans against ethnic divisions.

The resolutions read by former Mombasa Mayor Taib Ali Taib indicated that Mr Biwotts election team will comprise of representatives from all provinces.

Later at a press conference, former Mombasa mayor Mr Taib Ali Taib said the partys National Executive Committee would decide the fate of Kanu secretary general Mr William Ruto, vice-chairmen Mr Henry Kosgey, Mr Dalmas Otieno and Mr Chris Okemo who have moved to ODM.

MPs who attended included Paul Sang, Stephen Ole Ntutu, Anthony Kimetto, Jimmy Choge, Amina Abdalla, Marsden Madoka, Yusuf Haji, Naomi Shaban, Hussein Maalim, Ali Wario and Justin Muturi.

East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Sarah Godana and Cabinet minister John Koech were also present. Baringo Central MP Gideon Moi left early.

The delegates were given Kanu T-shirts and caps plus some allowances to attend todays PNU launch.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN

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