Wednesday, December 17, 2008



December 17 2008

The Orange Democratic Movement’s top organ – the Pentagon – has agreed on a power-sharing formula ahead of Thursday’s National Delegates Conference at Bomas of Kenya.

Two deputy party leader positions, to be shared between Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Agriculture minister William Ruto, were created to avert a split in the party, the Nation learnt.

There has been a cold war between supporters of Mr Mudavadi and those of Mr Ruto over the position.

The party leadership also agreed to create three positions of vice-chairperson to go to Coast, Eastern and North Eastern provinces.

Sources said Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey will remain the chairman while his Medical Services counterpart, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, will be retained as secretary general.

Trade assistant minister Omingo Magara will remain treasurer. Prime Minister Raila Odinga is the party leader.

Dismissed line-up

However, Information assistant minister George Khaniri said he would contest the secretary general’s seat and dismissed the line-up drawn by the Pentagon.

Elsewhere, PNU leaders were on Wednesday trying to figure out how to use consensus during Friday’s national elections to avoid rivalries that have emerged among candidates seeking various posts.

The idea is to pick one candidate for each of the 29 seats instead of going to the ballot. PNU has created the position of party leader which is reserved for President Kibaki.

The idea of consensus was mooted at a meeting chaired by Internal Security minister George Saitoti on Monday.

Prof Saitoti and his Cabinet colleague, Dr Noah Wekesa, were eyeing the party’s chairmanship but Dr Wekesa on Wednesday withdrew his candidature in favour of Prof Saitoti.

Dr Wekesa said he had withdrawn his candidature for the sake of party unity.

“Because of the need for unity among party leaders, I have agreed to step down on behalf of my brother Prof Saitoti,” he told reporters in his office on Wednesday evening adding that “Unity is bigger than personal aspirations”.

Long discussions

He said after long discussions with Prof Saitoti, he had decided that the position of chairman should not create divisions in PNU.

He called on his supporters to rally behind his move adding that he would support Prof Saitoti in any capacity that he would be assigned by the delegates.

He said he would convene a meeting with his delegates today to explain his decision. PNU spokesman George Nyamweya joined the list of aspirants on Tuesday.He will be facing Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi who had no opponent for the secretary general’s post by Monday, the deadline for submitting nomination forms.

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The deadline was extended to Thursday to allow candidates to shift to posts that are not crowded.

This was a resolution made during the Monday meeting, which was attended by ministers Beth Mugo (Public Health and Sanitation) and Esther Murugi (Gender and Children Affairs) and several MPs.

The two ministers are vying for the posts of vice-chairperson (Programmes) and the vice-chairperson (Operations).

What appears to concern PNU most is the position of national organising secretary, which is the most crowded.

The candidates include former Starehe MP Maina Kamanda, assistant minister Cecily Mbarire, Kinangop MP David Ngugi, former Lagdera MP Mohamed Shidiye, Mr Joseph Cherorot of Kipkelion and the party’s director of programmes, Mr Moses Kuria.

However, picking one candidate is tricky as the Monday meeting proposed the need to consider regional distribution of seats as well as gender and youth