UHURU DEMANDS ALLIES JOIN TNA
DEPUTY Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta now wants political parties backing him for president to dissolve and join his new TNA party. Uhuru has been buoyed by his party's decisive wins in Kangema and Kajiado North constituencies on Monday. Uhuru and his team want to consolidate their position and have one strong party, especially in Mt Kenya region.
"We respect their constitutional right to form their parties but we are also saying that they cannot say they are supporting Uhuru when they are also weakening him on the ground. Uhuru needs the most MPs, Senators, Governors and country representatives under TNA for him to effectively govern as president," said TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja yesterday.
Sakaja stressed that TNA would hold free and fair nominations for candidates across Kenya with losers being given other opportunities to serve the party. However, the position adopted by Uhuru’s party has not gone down well with several leaders in Central Kenya. They fear they could be locked out of politics during the national exercise because TNA already has its preferred candidates.
Various parties in Mt Kenya region have hinted they will field candidates for various posts but support Uhuru's presidential bid. They include the Grand National Unity (GNU) party headed by assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri and the Party of National Unity (PNU) now headed by Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella.
Saba Saba Asili and DP are also backing Uhuru for president but sponsored candidates during Monday's ended by-elections. Their officials are also concerned that they could be locked out of TNA nominations by the "moneyed" old guard if they dissolve their parties. There is also a concern that TNA could lock them out of appointments after the election if they win. After the December 2007 election, parties that teamed up with PNU claimed they were shortchanged in allocation of offices.
The Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) whose coordinator is Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi has also indicated that Uhuru could be its preferred presidential candidate. Last week, a majority of Meru MPs attended an APK's delegates’ conference in solidarity with Kiraitu. The minister gave Uhuru and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka a strange two week ultimatum to declare whether they will contest the presidency with his APK.
Kiraitu is bitter that he formed a party for Uhuru only for him to go off and launch TNA four months ago. Despite Kiraitu being from Meru, analysts believe that TNA would still be stronger than APK in the region. Yesterday, Kiunjuri said that GNU would continue supporting Uhuru for president but would field its own candidates for other elective posts.
"We are not fighting Uhuru but it is wrong for TNA officials to insist that we dissolve our parties and go for joint nominations. GNU will not entertain this talk and we are going ahead to prepare for the general elections where we will field candidates all over the country," he said. "Since we do not have a presidential candidate, the man we will support is Uhuru, unless Uhuru himself comes out openly to say that he does not need our support," said Kiunjuri.
The Laikipia East MP accused TNA of using the issue of ICC to destroy all perceived opponents of Uhuru. "They used the Hague issue to fight Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua. Now they want to use the same propaganda against me and GNU because my party is emerging as the main threat to TNA," stated Kiunjuri.
On Sunday Moses Kuria and Onyango Oloo of TNA claimed that Kiunjuri had asked why central Kenya should vote for someone who might not be able to come back even if he wins. Yesterday Kiunjuri denied making those statements."How ungrateful can these TNA people be? I accompanied Uhuru throughout the country during the prayer rallies and I will continue to back him. When Lewis Nguyai (MP Kikuyu) made some disparaging remarks about people who will not join TNA, they played that audio in most of the radio stations. I want them to do the same if they have a recording of me," said Kiunjuri.
TNA's first two MPs, Tirus Ngahu (Kangema) and Moses Ole Sakuda (Kajiado North), and several councilors were elected during Monday's by-elections.