Uhuru declares support for Kibaki
By Standard Team
Kanu chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta has now declared he is out of the race to State House and thrown his weight behind President Kibaki. Uhuru’s move comes as a rare political occurrence, for an Official Opposition leader anywhere in the democratic world.
Uhuru, who came second to President Kibaki in the 2002 General Election, said he had to be realistic on his chances of winning the presidency were he to join the race. Uhuru’s announcement means Kanu is walking in the footsteps of former President Moi, who has announced that he is backing President Kibaki’s re-election, but would support the party’s parliamentary and civic candidates.
Uhuru justified his throwing in the towel saying he was not the type to run for the presidency just for the sake of it, but one to do so only when he was sure of a win. We are not people who just run. We run when we are sure we can win.
I am leading the party to the next government, Uhuru said, after emerging from a Kanu National Executive Committee meeting at the headquarters in Nairobi. Uhuru said the party had formed a team to negotiate with President Kibaki-friendly parties and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka’s ODM-Kenya a winning formula for the General Election.
He, however, said the party’s support for the Government would depend on a number of issues, including how the interest of Kanu members would be considered. Our support is not automatic we are entering into negotiations and we have a number of issues we want the Government to address.
Our interests and concerns need to be addressed, Uhuru said. He said Kanu was now united and that branches would be harmonised to ensure that members, including those in the faction led by Keiyo South MP, Mr Nicholas Biwott, were accommodated.
Uhuru said party members who have joined other parties would be replaced during the harmonisation. Uhuru said Biwott and Bureti MP, Mr Paul Sang, had been incorporated into the committee to negotiate with President Kibaki, but were absent during the press conference on Thursday.
Other committee members are Uhuru, former Mombasa mayor Taib Ali Taib, former Cabinet minister Prof Sam Ongeri and MPs Mr Yusuf Haji, Mr Marsden Madoka, Mr Justin Muturi and Dr Naomi Shabaan.
They were all present for the NEC meeting that was also attended by businessman Mr Stanley Githunguri, who is the central Kenya representative, and former Starehe MP, Mr Gerishon Kirima, who represents Nairobi. Meanwhile, unrest continued to stir in President Kibaki’s camp with three Cabinet ministers sending mixed signals over the delay in naming the President’s re-election bid party.
Narc-Kenya Secretary-General Dr Mukhisa Kituyi said there was no agreement yet on the coalition expected to spearhead President Kibaki’s re-election. Kituyi disowned the Party of National Unity (PNU), which has been floated as the umbrella body for parties backing President Kibaki’s re-election. As a party, we are still deliberating on the direction to take.
We have not decided on the umbrella party to use or whether other parties in the coalition will field their own civic and parliamentary candidates, Kituyi said in Nairobi. In Meru, Energy minister Mr Kiraitu Murungi and Assistant minister Mr Patrick Muiruri said they were set to ditch Narc-Kenya if President Kibaki does not seek re-election on its ticket.
The ministers said they would not hesitate to abandon the party and join PNU or any other party that the President settles on. Political parties are like matatus. If you board one and you feel it may not take you to the preferred destination, you just alight and board the one that will enable you complete the journey, said Kiraitu, one of Narc-Kenya’s vice-chairmen.
The two, who were speaking in Kiraitu’s South Imenti constituency, said they were monitoring President Kibaki’s political move and would follow him to whichever party he favoured for his re-election. Reported by Joseph Murimi, Ayub Savula, Patrick Muriungi and Morton Saulo