PNU in standoff over joint nominations
Published on October 31, 2007, 12:00 am
By Caroline Mango
A day after President Kibaki stepped in to solve the nomination standoff in his Party of National Unity (PNU), sharp division among affiliate parties still persist.
This emerged even as PNU’s presidential co-ordinating team led by its chairman and Cabinet minister, Mr Mutua Katuku, indicated on Tuesday that parties, which fail to participate in the joint nominations might be locked out of the alliance.
Katuku told The Standard that “joint nominations” was the final decision that parties under the PNU must follow as agreed, in an exercise to be supervised by the Electoral Commission of Kenya.
Even though Kibaki had reportedly told the daylong meeting at State House on Monday that they must go for joint nominations, parties came out of yesterday’s meeting reading from different scripts.
Whereas PNU supporters expected Kibaki’s intervention to solve the standoff, the party seems headed for greater divisions.
“The President’s message was clear. That all internal wrangles within parties and alliance be solved immediately and that all parties go through joint nominations,” said a minister at Monday’s meeting.
“However, things are proving to be extremely difficult in PNU because even after the Monday meeting, some party leaders are speaking a different language,” said a Narc-Kenya official.
Vice-President, Mr Moody Awori, who chaired another meeting of the PNU council yesterday morning, said they were still deliberating on the thorny issue.
Speaking at his Jogoo House office in Nairobi, Awori said they had not concluded the deliberations and that talks were still going on.
“We have not concluded on the nominations. But there is nothing controversial, only that these things go slowly,’’ he said.
Members of the PNU council present during the Press briefing included former MPs Mr Justin Muturi, Mr Moses Wetangula, DP secretary general, Mr George Nyamweya and Mr Lee Karuri of Kibaki Tena lobby group.
The alliance’s co-ordinating team is set to name officials of the Elections Board, on Wednesday.
DP vice-chairman, Mr Joseph Munyao, who also attended Monday’s meeting, said his was for individual nominations.
“Our agreement as a party to field parliamentary and civic candidates is in accordance with the Political Parties Bill,” said Munyao.
“There is no bargain on the fact that parties must keep their identities. I do not know about the other parties in PNU, but that is the final position of DP,” he said.
Shirikisho party leader, Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere, said the Constitution allows for corporate membership.
“Shirikisho must hold its preliminary party nominations. Then we can face the rest after that. But as a party, we are already on our nomination dates and deadlines,” he added.
Assistant minister, Mr Danson Mungatana said there was a lot of confusion in the alliance, at a time when many thought the problems would be solved after Monday.
“There are meetings still going on. There is a lot of confusion, but people are meeting on the issue,” he said.
Cabinet minister, Mr Suleiman Shakombo, said some parties in the coalition were not sincere.
“So many parties have come up purporting to be behind Kibaki. Those who do not agree to joint nominations have sinister motives,” he said.
Shakombo, who is the Narc-Kenya vice-chairman, said only Kanu has been exempted from joint nominations.