Monday, July 21, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
July 21, 2008

President Kibaki knows it. Martha Karua knows it. Raphael Tuju, Moody Awori, Kivutha Kibwana and even George Saitoti know it. They know one truth; that PNU was crafted by Noah Wekesa and other Kibaki supporters for his reelection. If anybody thinks differently, that person is living in denial.

At the time President Kibaki launched PNU at Kenyatta Conference Centre, his political camp had gone through a nightmare of sorts. Various parties that had formed NARC way back in 2002 were pulling in different directions. When Wekesa and others failed to dislodge Charity Ngilu from NARC, the Kibaki handlers formed the flower party.

But even after Narc Kenya was formed with commendable results in the by-elections in Nakuru and North Eastern Province following the air crash in which five MPs perished, other parties such as Safina, the Democratic Party, Mazingira and Shirikisho failed to appreciate Narc Kenya as the rightful heir to NARC. The infighting continued for four years and almost to the last quarter of 2007; the year of the general elections.

The day PNU was launched, it was clear from Kibaki’s speech that PNU was him and he was PNU. There were no other direct members of the party other than Mwai Kibaki. It was only after this declaration that other party leaders were paraded as affiliate supporters of the Kibaki reelection. Those paraded at the KICC that evening were Nyachae of Ford People, Uhuru of KANU, Tuju of Narc Kenya and Nyamweya of DP. Other parties like Safina, Mazingira, Koigi Wamwere’s Wananchi Wazalendo and Shirikisho were not paraded but were mentioned as other supporters.

Right from the launch of PNU, the understanding of affiliate parties was that it was an election umbrella to give Kibaki a second term while affiliate parties retained their identity. This was the reason parties such as KANU, NARC Kenya, Ford Kenya and Ford People nominated their own candidates directly. They knew that after Kibaki’s reelection, everyone would go their own separate ways and compete with one another for the Kibaki succession.

It was therefore strange to learn last week; seven months later that President Kibaki had convened the PNU affiliate parties to make the same political blunder he made in December 2003 when he declared all NARC coalition parties including his DP dead! The rebellion he got this time was identical to the one of 2003 only that this time; it was led by his closest allies.

Having said that, one must begin to think of why Kibaki all of a sudden wanted a united PNU party to do battle with ODM, a party in a coalition government with him! What threat had he seen coming from Raila Odinga, knowing that the Accord signed in front of international mediators was valid until December 2012? How would this belated unity benefit Mwai Kibaki personally knowing that he was on the last leg of his presidency?

It is therefore plausible to imagine that there must have been some beneficiaries who prodded the President to go through this costly gamble. These characters must be the ones that stood to gain most, if the unity objective was achieved.

In Central Province, it is not lost on observers that there are characters that still believe a Kikuyu presidency is possible immediately after Kibaki. The same mentality existed during Kenyatta’s era. The more reason they fought to change the constitution to block Moi from ascending to the throne in the event that Kenyatta died in office.

The reason these dreamers exist in Central Province is because Kikuyu politicians know they have the numbers strength in this country. At 26% of the population, they believe they can rule Kenya to eternity more so if they get the support of their cousins from Meru and Embu. For this reason, it is understandable if Uhuru Kenyatta or George Saitoti entered into a pact with Kibaki to back for his reelection in 2007 while banking on his support come 2012.

However, knowing that Uhuru Kenyatta’s party is in tatters while Saitoti is technically party-less, the only viable option is for Kibaki to cobble up some semblance of a party and hand it over to his candidate of choice. Because of these two suspects, other affiliates have rebelled and stuck to the original script of burying PNU immediately Kibaki leaves office!

Can anybody blame them?