SAITOTI WANTS PNU ALLIANCE BANNED
Internal Security minister George Saitoti has written to the Registrar of Political parties to block the registration of the PNU Alliance associated with Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi.
Kiraitu quit as PNU secretary general last month to concentrate on building the PNU Alliance whose registration is now in jeopardy following Saitoti’s objection. In a letter to the acting registrar Lucy Ndung’u, Saitoti said the continued existence and registration of the PNU Alliance was in contravention of the Political Parties Act and was causing confusion among its supporters.
“It has come to our notice that the PNU Alliance party continues to use our name, 'Party of National Unity' despite the fact that they have from time to time said publicly that they are changing their name,” a letter to the registrar signed by the PNU organising secretary Maina Kamanda said in part.
“Could you please, as a matter of urgency, ask the PNU Alliance to desist from using PNU as part of its name, and also ensure that you do not register PNU Alliance as long at its using 'PNU' as part of its name,” the letter dated April 4, 2012 adds.
Yesterday, Ndun'gu confirmed she had received the letter saying she will act upon it on the basis of the law. Section 8 of the Political Parties Act 2011 provides that the registrar may refuse an application for the registration of a political party if its name, the abbreviation of the name or the symbol that it wishes to use is the name, or is an abbreviation of another political party that is registered under; or so nearly resembles the name or symbol, or an abbreviation of the name of another registered political party. “The use of the name PNU Alliance has caused a lot of confusion, and we are receiving a lot of complaints from our members from all parts of the country. The Political Parties Act 2011 is also very clear about the use of names similar to those of existing parties,” Kamanda adds. The registrar is understood to have asked both PNU and PNU Alliance to discuss and agree between themselves on the way forward.
Yesterday PNU Alliance chairman Titus Ibui said there is nothing wrong with the party using PNU as part of its name saying other parties such as Narc and Narc Kenya; and Ford People, Ford Kenya and New Ford Kenya already exist. All these parties have applied for registration but no complaint about the similarity in names has been raised.
Ngilu's Narc has a traditional African torch (mwenge) as its symbol with green, flame yellow and blue colours. Karua's Narc Kenya has a flower as its symbol while its colours are red and green.
Ford People has blue and white as its colours with a pen as its symbol. Ford Kenya has green, blue and white colours with a lion as its symbol. New Ford Kenya's symbol is a cup while its colours are green and yellow.
Ibui insisted that PNU Alliance got its certification of provisional registration before November 1 last year when the Act came into force. He said the use of the name should be protected just like the various Fords and Narc parties.
He, however, said the party had notified the registrar of its intention to change its name to Alliance Party of Kenya pending approval from its members. “We have already indicted our intention to the registrar to change our name to that of Alliance Party of Kenya. All we are waiting for is for the party’s national delegates conference to approve the change in name,” Ibui said.
He said the delegates conference will take place as soon as PNU Alliance winds up its ongoing grassroots elections. So far the party has conducted elections in 34 out of the 47 counties.
PNU Alliance, however, faces the difficult task of convening the conference to ratify the name change as the deadline for parties to comply with the registration requirements is only nine days away. All parties have until April 30 to apply for registration.
Another reason why Saitoti and his party want PNU Alliance not to be registered is that the alliance was initially supposed to act as an umbrella party with corporate membership. “However the Political Parties Act 2011 is very clear that there will be no corporate parties, and therefore the PNU Alliance is just like any other party.”
The law also provides that any member of the public, group or institutions can object the registration of any party citing these provisions within two weeks of the registrar advertising in the local dailies the intention to register the parties.
This is the same law which informed Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and his ODM Kenya to change its name Wiper Democratic Movement with an umbrella as its symbol and new white and blue colours.
Initially both ODM Kenya and ODM shared the Orange colour and both had oranges as their symbols. The only difference was ODM K’s party symbol which was a full and a half orange.
PNU alliance was formed to bring together Kalonzo, Saitoti and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta but both Kalonzo and Saitoti have since ignored the alliance and have been working on boosting the membership and stature of their parties.
Uhuru is yet to declare which party will nominate him as its presidential candidate. Last week, he lost control
of Kanu where he was the national chairman.
Kiraitu has been trying to sell the PNU Alliance which has since been christened the 'Bus' to Uhuru and his allies. Kiraitu hopes Uhuru will agree to become the party’s presidential candidate. Most MPs who associate with the PNU Alliance are also allies of Uhuru, Kalonzo and Saitoti. All three have declared their intention to have their names on the ballot for the presidential race.
Despite PNU's letter, Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu was yesterday elected as Nairobi PNU Alliance chairman by acclamation. PNU Alliance delegates drawn from the larger Nairobi converged at the Ufungamano House for the election.
The delegates said because Waititu is an MP, he is best suited to be chairman and that they had chosen him because he has worked hard for the PNU Alliance. The delegates also proposed that Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan should be the vice chairman.