Monday, October 13, 2008



October 13 2008

By Joseph Murimi and Daniel Nzia

A new political camp is taking shape in PNU and promising to realign President Kibaki’s party.

The newfound political camp is however causing ripples of discomfort within the party.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka quenches his thirst after commissioning a water project at Isento Primary School in Narok North District on Sunday. Looking on is Heritage minister William ole Ntimama (left). Kalonzo is building a coalition with Kiraitu and Uhuru ahead of next elections. Photo: VPPS/Standard

The political alliance, that has been in the shadows, comprising Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, is boldly coming out to battle for control of PNU.

The machinations of the team whose cronies have come to refer to as Three Ks (Kalonzo, Kiraitu and Kenyatta), are working to position the trio to completely take over the party after the President who is headed for retirement exits the political arena. The three are said to have embarked on serious groundwork for a line-up that would see Kalonzo gun for the presidency, Kiraitu his vice-president and Uhuru for the Prime Minister’s seat.

None of the three would be drawn to discuss what has become an open secret, but their political cronies have now openly declared the plot that on the other hand is causing ripples inside PNU.

The subject of the line-up has become the latest political fodder in public rallies by politicians allied to the trio.

Politicians in the camp say Kalonzo was set to have declared Mt Kenya region’s favoured candidate during the Mathira MP Ephraim Maina’s homecoming last month. The agenda was, however, dropped when Prime Minister Raila Odinga turned up despite earlier indications that he would not honour the invitation.

The move appeared to regain currency at the weekend. An Assistant Minister for Agriculture Japheth Kareke Mbiuki on Sunday declared the Meru community would back a presidential candidate, who will nominate one of their own as running mate.

"We the Meru Parliamentary Group have decided that the community will fight for the next vice-presidency. One of us will be number two after 2012", said the Nithi MP.

Winning line-up

Kiraitu is touted to become the PNU first National vice-chairman, a post the Meru MPs are campaigning for in the forthcoming party elections. He has already announced he is going for one top party seat.

Uhuru has lately been seen to engage the overdrive in lobbying for an alliance between the Kamba and the Gema communities with an eye on the 2012 General Election.

He has assembled a team of MPs who have been going round the Mt Kenya region to promote Kalonzo as the Party of National Unity (PNU) presidential candidate.

The MPs include Government Chief Whip George Thuo (Juja), Assistant minister Dick Wathika (Makadara) Mr Lewis Nguyai (Kikuyu) Mr Simon Mbugua (Kamukunji), Mr David Ngugi (Kinangop) Mr Ngata Kariuki (Kirinyaga Central) and Johnstone Muthama (ODM-K, Kangundo), Moses Mwathi (Limuru) and Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), who has been the most vocal proponent so far.

Uhuru last week brushed aside an attempt to have him comment on his newfound coalition.

But Kikuyu MP Nguyai who is one of those in the Uhuru team said theirs is a winning line-up that ODM could not beat.

"This is a winning line-up. They (ODM) cannot beat us. Look at the numbers (in the last election). All we need to do is to reach out to other communities and ensure we have a national outlook,’’ said Nguyai.

When reached by telephone on Tuesday, Kalonzo downplayed the issue saying: "Nani atajua ya 2012?" (who can know about 2012?).

Muthama said they had agreed on a need to form a formidable team comprising PNU, ODM-Kenya and Kanu. He said Kalonzo stands the best chance with the backing of the central Kenya vote.

"Nothing will stand between our mission and I’m confident Kalonzo is the best bet for the alliance come 2012," said Muthama.

Kalonzo has been making forays into the Mt Kenya region with the latest being 10 days ago when he traversed Meru and Embu where the line-up was made public.

But their move is be perceived as a long shot given the hurdles they would have to circumvent.

The three will, for one, have to deal with Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti who, all political indicators show, is determined to make a stab at the Presidency come 2012 and who is seen to be laying his own groundwork.

Saitoti has been cautious and reserved in his bid even as he was apparently sidelined in Narc Kenya, now led by Minister Martha Karua, and could be outwitted by the Three Ks.

At a PNU function on Saturday, Saitoti appeared to allude to orchestrated moves to realign PNU as he warned that the party should retain a national outlook.

Hungry to lead

He said PNU should have a national outlook in order to reach out to those at the grassroots level.

Saitoti said politicians, including himself, Tourism Minister Najib Balala, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, the late Vice President Michael Wamalwa were hungry to lead the Rainbow coalition during the 2002 campaigns but relented for the sake of party unity.

He was speaking at a PNU meeting in Mombasa where he was hosted by the party’s Coast co-ordinator Minister Chirau Mwakwere, in a function attended by Ministers Minister Beth Mugo, Yusuf Haji and Noah Wekesa.

love-hate relationship

But PNU spokesman and nominated MP George Nyamweya has told the trio to go easy, saying Kalonzo was not the party’s automatic presidential candidate.

"There is no automatic presidential candidate for PNU and it is not the appropriate time to start talking about such issues. This is not party policy and those are personal views and opinions being expressed,’’ said Nyamweya.

The argument by the MPs in the Kalonzo-Kiraitu-Uhuru axis is that if they can consolidate Mt Kenya and Kalonzo guarantees Ukamabani votes, they could be home and dry.

But two ODM-Kenya rebel MPs Mr Charles Kilonzo (Yatta) and Mr Kiema Kilonzo (Mutito) said the central politicians were hoodwinking Kalonzo.

But the question on the lips of those who have not jumped onto the Kalonzo-Uhuru bandwagon is whether this alliance between the Gema and Kamba will take off, given the love-hate relationship that has characterised the two communities from independence.