Wednesday, December 17, 2008



By David Ohito and Beauttah Omanga

The main coalition partners ODM and PNU have drawn up line-ups of their party leadership ahead of their National Delegates Conferences (NDC) set for Thursday and Friday.

The strategy of compromise line-ups is aimed at avoiding fallouts that have threatened both parties as they seek to meet the requirements of a new law — the Political Parties Act, which comes into force on December 31.

PNU released its list of preferred leaders in which President Kibaki and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti are poised to be confirmed party leader and chairman respectively.

In PNU, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi is set to clinch the leader and chairman respectively.

In PNU, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi is set to clinch the secretary-general’s seat. Party Spokesman George Nyamweya is also interested in the seat.

Forestry and Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa was pressured to step down in favour of Prof Saitoti and has been rewarded with the position of first vice-chairman.

In ODM, at least 4,200 delegates from the 210 constituencies converge at the Bomas of Kenya at 10am today to endorse Prime Minister Raila Odinga as party leader. Each constituency sends 20 delegates.

Both parties have chosen the path of "negotiated democracy" as opposed to open, fair and democratic elections.

Details emerged of meetings where party seats in the two coalition parties were shared out.

In ODM, a decision was reached yesterday to create two positions of deputy leader to diffuse the tension between Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Agriculture Minister William Ruto who were eyeing the position.

In what may be seen as rubber-stamping the current crop of national leaders, Cabinet Minister Henry Kosgey is set to retain the post of ODM national chairman, while Assistant Minister Omingo Magara retains the national treasurer’s position.

Plan resisted

A plan to have Secretary-General Anyang’ Nyong’o retain the position was resisted. A delegate from Gem constituency, Mr J T Okinda, insisted he would challenge the Medical Services minister.

Okinda refused to step down and challenged the ODM leadership to allow elections, not selection.

In PNU, former Kitutu Chache MP Jimmy Angwenyi is expected to take the position of vice-chairman in charge of operations. Other vice-chairmen to be confirmed at the conference are Cabinet Ministers Ali Mwakwere (strategy) and Beth Mugo (resource mobilisation).

PNU abolished the post of deputy party leader, which Lang’ata parliamentary loser Stanley Livondo had shown interest in.

By last night, the ODM top brass was working on the finer details of the line up under Raila’s chairmanship ahead of the conference.

Candidates seeking national seats were asked to pay Sh20,000 life membership and another Sh20,000 as NEC candidates.

In the proposed arrangement, three positions of vice-chairmen were created with one expected to go to Western and the other to Coast provinces.

Okemo for western

Sources said Nambale MP Chris Okemo could take the Western seat, while Assistant Minister Ramadhan Kajembe is expected to take the Coast slot.

In the backroom deal, three positions for every province were created as MPs perceived as rivals were rewarded with slots in the Parliamentary Select Committee for Interim Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya.

ODM created 31 seats to accommodate the interests of various interest groups and regional balancing.

"We have had a series of meetings to build consensus and we are making good progress. We hope to have peaceful elections," said the party Chief Whip.

ODM has created 13 positions of secretaries, which will be up for grabs too.

North Eastern leaders were fronting Mr Adan Dualle and Cabinet Minister Mohamed Elmi for key positions in the party.

In Nairobi, the names of Regional Minister Fred Gumo, Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru and former Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo were floated.

In Central, Mr Peter Kuguru was expected to get a slot.

MPs from the Coast are fronting Kisauni MP Hassan Joho and Mr Kajembe as the region’s flag bearers for top positions.

Last night, ODM National Election Board Chairman Philip Okundi confirmed that the list of delegates was ready after repeat party elections were ordered in several constituencies. However, several politicians, especially from constituencies in Nyanza Province, were last night still haggling over the list of delegates.