UHURU RENEWS INTEREST IN EUGENE MERGER
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has rekindled his interest in having Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa as his running mate in the forthcoming general elections. The Star has established that Uhuru's renewed interest has become apparent after Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Deputy Premier Musalia Mudavadi expressed their determination to be included on the presidential ballot in the elections expected to be held on March 4, 2013. “We know Musalia is a candidate of the system and he will go all the way to the ballot as a presidential candidate, our focus is Eugene,” said a close ally of Uhuru. Uhuru will be running on The National Alliance (TNA) party ticket.
Musalia, who is hoping to be the United Democratic Forum party (UDF) presidential nominee has repeatedly denied that he is anyone’s 'project.' The Star has also established that the rift between TNA and the UDF has extended to some key and influential figures in and outside government and who have, behind the scenes, been coordinating some of the activities of the two parties. It is this rift which has rekindled Uhuru’s interest in Eugene who presently heads the New Ford Kenya.
On one hand, some key figures in the Office of the President are keen to have TNA under Uhuru capture power in the elections and are presently unhappy with the inroads being made by Musalia’s UDF. The group has been sieving through on the best politician who can be Uhuru’s running mate and has zeroes in on Eugene according to reliable sources. On the other hand, another group of highly connected and influential personalities some in the business circles are determined to have UDF outdo TNA in the political arena and spring Musalia to presidency.
Yesterday, Eugene confirmed that his party was working closely with Uhuru’s TNA but said it was still early to discuss who between the two will be the presidential candidate and who will go for deputy president. “At our New Ford Kenya launch we had The National Alliance and 18 other parties. New Ford Kenya and TNA are going to work together as we move forward but as for now, there is no arrangement for who will be presidential candidate and the running mate. That will come much later. As of now, Uhuru Kenyatta and Eugene Wamalwa are both presidential aspirants,” said Eugene.
But according to Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Jamleck Kamau, Uhuru is not going to support any other candidate for the presidency as he has made up his mind that he will be the TNA’s torch bearer. “The DPM has no plans of supporting anybody for the presidency under any circumstance,” said the minister who is considered close to Uhuru. Insiders in TNA said that they were aware Musalia has been working to have a political support from Uhuru. Uhuru is however reportedly not enthusiastic as he wants to contest for the presidency.
Speaking to the Star yesterday, UDF secretary general Abraham Limo said UDF was ready to work with TNA and emerge with a winning formula to avoid a run-off. He said negotiations have been going on between the two parties with an aim of working out a political marriage. “We are ready to work with like minded parties, TNA and UDF have almost same structures, talks are on and will continue between the two parties, if we find a formula that can help us avoid a runoff, that is the best thing for us,” he said. He said he is not aware of a rift between the two parties.
Over the weekend, Ruto, who intends to vie on a URP ticket, disclosed that he is considering having Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi as his running mate. He said should Murungi decline, he would pick a running mate from the coastal region as he had set his sights on the two areas. Environment and Mineral resources Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere has openly stated he is best suited to be Ruto’s running mate. Ruto’s sentiments are a clear pointer that he has as well made up his mind to go all the way to the ballot as a presidential candidate.
Already, Ruto have suspended discussions on the possibility of fielding a single G7 candidate in the March 2013 election. Earlier this year there was widespread speculation that the duo could be running mates for president and deputy President. Instead Ruto and Uhuru have decided that the G7 leaders should run on their own during the first round of voting but sign a memorandum of understanding to back whoever qualifies for the run off in the second round. The presumption is that the run-off will be between one of the G7 candidates and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.