Wednesday, July 23, 2008



July 23, 2008
Daily Nation

Dissenting parties within PNU scored a major victory Tuesday after a proposal to dissolve affiliate parties and merge them into one was shelved.
Narc Kenya, Ford Kenya and the Democratic Party of Kenya had opposed the proposal, prompting the formation of a committee to study its viability.

The 15-member committee President Kibaki appointed to work out the modalities of merging the PNU affiliates has recommended that the coalition should be open to both individual and corporate membership.

Single outfit

In his proposal, the President suggested that for PNU to be ahead of its ODM rival in Parliament and in the 2012 General Election, the coalition partners must come together to form a single outfit.

Although the committee’s chairman, Dr Noah Wekesa, declined to divulge details of their report, sources told the Nation that they found it difficult to recommend the dissolution of the affiliate parties.

“Most of the PNU partners are against the idea of dissolving their individual parties and we cannot expel them from the coalition. That is why we opted to have both individual and corporate membership,” the source, who is a also a senior official of the party, said.

Dr Wekesa told journalists that the committee’s report would be presented to the President Wednesday.

“We cannot release the report before the President goes through it,” he said.

However, according to the source, the committee found that it was necessary to restructure PNU to make it more formidable as it prepares for the 2012 elections.

And the committee proposed that this be done through conducting grassroots elections.

“After streamlining the party, we shall eventually make Karua and her supporters irrelevant since PNU will have a new face and more members,” the source continued to say.

The committee is said to have also proposed that the party sets up a strong secretariat. PNU disbanded its secretariat a few months ago.

According to the source, PNU is set to move its headquarters from Lenana Road to Isaac Gathanju Road in Lavington.

Most leaders of major PNU partner parties have defied President Kibaki’s directive to dissolve their individual parties.

They were led by Narc-K chairperson Martha Karua. Ms Karua and her brigade in the flower party appear to have been disillusioned by the President’s proposal, which they see as a move to anoint one of the coalition’s leaders to take over PNU leadership and succeed him upon his exit as President in 2012.

By doing this, Ms Karua feels that she is being blocked from pursuing her ambition of running for the country’s top seat.

She had already declared her intention to vie for the presidency on a Narc-K ticket when President Kibaki made his proposal.

Pulled out

Others who have disagreed with the President on the issue include Ford-K chairman Musikari Kombo and his DP counterpart Joseph Munyao.

Safina, another PNU affiliate, appears to have literally pulled out of the coalition as it fielded its own candidates in the five by-elections held last month against the directive of the umbrella party.