Jubilee puts off nomination as TNA-UDF row rages

The nomination was set for Monday, put off for Tuesday and again postponed indefinitely, as both parties dug in over what mode to adopt to pick the alliance’s presidential candidate/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – The Jubilee Alliance has again called off nomination to select a flag bearer, as The National Alliance and the United Democratic Forum jostle over whether to go ahead with a primary poll or strike a boardroom deal.

The nomination was set for Monday, put off for Tuesday and again postponed indefinitely, as both parties dug in over what mode to use to adopt to pick the alliance’s presidential candidate.

“The Jubilee coalition has by mutual agreement decided to postpone the delegates conference earlier slated for Tuesday, 18th December 2012 so as to allow for more time for the parties to agree on a method by which to pick the presidential flag bearer,” a statement signed by Johnson Sakaja (TNA), Francis ole Kaparo (URP) and Hassan Osman (UDF) indicated.

Uhuru Kenyatta of TNA has faced increasing hostility from his backers after indications there was likelihood he would strike a boardroom deal to abandon his bid in favour of UDF’s Musalia Mudavadi.

William Ruto’s United Republican Party was also due to take part in the primary, in which each of the three parties was supposed to send 1,500 delegates.

It’s understood UDF and TNA are driving a hard bargain with influential power brokers on both sides sticking to their hardline positions.

Insiders said Kenyatta was under intense pressure to cede ground to Mudavadi, due to the case he’s facing at the International Criminal Court, but it’s not clear if he was willing to take the gamble.

Mudavadi’s camp argued it has an upper hand after forcing postponement of the nomination twice, but Kenyatta’s men said he must face their leader at the Kasarani nomination.

On Monday, the coalition wrote to the Registrar of Political parties asking for more time to name the flag bearer.

The alliance had indicated that it was to name its flag bearer within 14 days of signing the pact.

Signs of disagreements in the alliance first emerged on Monday afternoon when Mudavadi failed to accompany Kenyatta and Ruto for a major rally in Kitui, the backyard of Narc party leader Charity Ngilu.

Kenyatta announced in Kitui that he prefers a nomination process and urged Mudavadi “to gather courage” and face him at Kasarani.

A joint TNA and UDF parliamentary group meeting held at the Jacaranda Hotel similarly failed to agree on the mode of nomination to be used to pick their presidential candidate.

Speaking after a meeting which involved 15 MPs, UDF’s Abdikadir Mohammed who chaired the daylong meeting said they were ‘making exceptional progress’.

“You are aware that we have had technical teams working round the clock for some time. We have now called in the different PGs (Parliamentary Group meetings) from the different parties doing the final negotiations. By the end of this process we shall have an answer for the country and a candidate for the Jubilee Coalition,” said Mohammed.

Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo MP), Assistant Ministers Lewis Nguyai (Kikuyu MP) and Cecily Mbarire (Runyenjes MP); MPs William Kabogo (Juja MP) Mithika Linturi (Igembe South MP) and Racheal Shebesh (Nominated) represented TNA at the meeting while Abdikadir Mohammed (Mandera Central MP), Housing Minister Soita Shitanda (Malava MP), Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani MP) and Chris Okemo (Nambale MP) represented UDF.