|The fights among Party of National Unity affiliate parties have intensified after President Kibaki announced that all candidates who supported him should be treated equally.
Although the appeal by the President to shun the three-piece voting method dispelled fears the candidates of the PNU affiliates had expressed, it has brought both problems and gains in the three-month- old coalition.
The candidates were complaining of being left out of the presidential campaigns and being denied campaign funds and materials such as T-shirts, caps and posters.
This, they argued, would have worked against them since their challengers in PNU had the upper hand.
What has emerged is that the rivalry is hurting the President’s campaign in some areas while in others, the contest is being perceived as a blessing.
Early this week, a rally that President Kibaki attended in Kimilili town was disrupted by a group of Ford Kenya youths who booed Trade and Industry minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi.
The President had to step in to pour oil into the troubled waters. Dr Kituyi who is defending his Kimilili parliamentary seat on a PNU ticket, is facing strong challenge from Ford Kenya’s David Eseli, who is being supported by party chairman Mr Musikari Kombo.
The PNU war is obviously to the benefit of ODM and ODM Kenya. Labour minister Dr Newton Kulundu is furious that a Cabinet colleague in Western Province is sponsoring violence and spoiling PNU’s chances of winning the polls.
Dr Kulundu, also a supporter of President Kibaki, is defending his seat on a PNU ticket.
But he says the minister has sponsored candidates to vie against the PNU nominees as he wants to become the political king in the region.
“He has fielded a candidate to fight me and he has gone to the extent of destabilising my campaigns,” says Dr Kulundu who is defending his Lurambi parliamentary seat.
Ford-K, a strong party in the region, has fielded several candidates to compete with those on the PNU ticket.
New Ford Kenya, another party with roots in the region, has done the same
In Nakuru Town, a cosmopolitan constituency, four PNU candidates seen as frontrunners are poised to split the votes. And this will boost their ODM counterpart, Pastor Mike Brawan.
The same situation applies to other cosmopolitan constituencies in Nairobi where almost all losers in the PNU primaries sought the tickets of affiliate parties.
For instance, Kasarani and Makadara teem with candidates of parties supporting President Kibaki’s re-election bid.
Incidents of violence have been witnessed in the past two weeks among candidates of the parties supporting the President.
In Embakasi, several people were seriously injured last weekend when supporters of PNU candidate John Ndirangu and those of his rival, Mr David Mwenje, clashed.
Mr Mwenje’s supporters had confronted the rival group at the Mukuru kwa Reuben slum where Mr Ndirangu had taken his campaign.
They fought for about 30 minutes, and the injured had broken legs and head cuts.
Several vehicles were also damaged in the fracas.