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Narc Kenya grapples with thorny issue of nominating candidates – a move that could jeopardise Kibaki’s chances

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2007

Story by DAVE OPIYO
Publication Date: 9/30/2007

Narc Kenya yesterday resolved to work with other affiliate parties under the umbrella Party of National Unity (PNU) to ensure President Kibakis re-election in the December polls.

President Kibaki (centre) is welcomed by minister Prof George Saitoti (right) and Narc Kenya chairman Mr Raphael Tuju to KICC in Nairobi, where the party held its national delegates conference yesterday. Photo/PETERSON GITHAIGA

However, the thorny issue of how parliamentary and civic candidates would be nominated remained unresolved, with leaders sharply divided over the most appropriate method.

While addressing more than 3,000 delegates yesterday in Nairobi, party vice-chairman Prof Kivutha Kibwana set the ball rolling by proposing that the party holds joint nominations with the other affiliate parties to face both ODM and ODM-Kenya.

I dont see the reason why President Kibaki should be the only one elected to parliament under PNU. He will be left an orphan and that is what we dont want, said Prof Kibwana.

Im proposing that we hold joint nominations with our other partners so that we dont confuse our supporters because the future is PNU. If the President says that this is the party, then who are we not to follow him?

The Lands minister said it would be disastrous for the country should the President not be re-elected and appealed to Kenyans to give him a second chance to finish his development projects.

However, Cabinet ministers Mutua Katuku, Kiraitu Murungi, and Martha Karua held a different opinion insisting that it would be prudent for the party to field its own candidates for the civic and parliamentary seats, while jointly supporting Kibaki for the presidency.

Mr Murungi, also the partys vice chairman, said that holding joint nominations would kill the party.

And he proposed that the party should field single candidates in their stronghold while fighting it out with other parties in other areas.

Having joint nomination will definitely kill our party, which I believe we should closely and jealously guard, said Mr Murungi. Ms Karua preferred that the party fields it own candidates while supporting President Kibaki for the top seat.

As much as we are ready to work with the affiliate parties to ensure Kibakis re-election in the December polls. I still believe that we should field our own candidates, she said. However, party chairman Mr Raphael Tuju said they were still in talks with affiliate parties to seek a solution to this stalemate.

Consultations over this matter are still on. We want to come up with the best strategy to ensure the presidents re-election so Im appealing to you to be patient. We shall be making an announcement soon, said the Rarieda MP.

He announced the formation of a task force with members from all provinces to assist in coming up with a solution. However, other speakers who included Vice-President Moody Awori, Cabinet ministers Prof George Saitoti, Abdi Mohammed and Suleiman Shakombo steered clear of the issue but appealed to Kenyans to re-elect the President.

We should be proud of what we have achieved over the five years… Its time to give President Kibaki a second term in order for him to complete all his projects, said Prof Saitoti.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.nation.ke

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