NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The little know United People’s Party of Kenya on Thursday joined other parties in folding up, after ratifying dissolution at a National Delegates Convention at the Bomas of Kenya.
But why did they fold up, to join a ‘big fish’?
“It is the desire to have one strong party that will unite the country. That is what we want,” Abdirahman Ismail, the Secretary General, told Capital FM News.
It is understood that belonging to the ruling party is enticing given the political rewards such as consideration for nomination to positions of influence but Ismail was insistent that their acceptance of the merger was not informed by selfish motives.
“Even if we don’t get any position, we are happy. We are not there to benefit but we are focused on the bigger picture of a united country under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto,” he said.
He also expressed assurance that the ‘small fish’ with smaller political muscle, with only a couple of Members of County Assemblies to its name, would be treated as equal partners.
“President Kenyatta personally assured us that we would be equal. We are all in the same house.”
He however admitted that there had been misgivings initially on what stake they would hold but, “our partners have not also insinuated selfishness towards getting everything for themselves and especially on our party leaders.”
He was also adamant that there was no acrimony on who would act as the party officials saying they would on be selected based on their strengths and capabilities.
Under the Jubilee Party, he said, Kenyans should expect, “an inspiring leadership, development and unity above all.”
Sentiments which were shared by the Party Chairman Petkay Miriti; a man with his eyes set on the Tharaka Nithi gubernatorial seat.
“I am very happy to be among the founders of the new baby, the Jubilee Party,” he said.
He is however aware that now, the odds of securing the party ticket, are not as good as they would have been had the selection pool remained narrower. “But Kenyans,” he said, “deserve only the best and if I secure the nomination, there’ll be no doubt that I am the best.”
Kiraitu Murungi, who co-chaired the Jubilee birthing process, was not oblivious to the reality either.
“We can only have one candidate at a time in respective elective positions, a fact our members fully understand,” he said.
Delegates who spoke to Capital FM News from various parties including the New Ford Kenya, Republican Council and United Democratic Forum urged the party leaders to ensure there is democracy within the new party.
They specifically want the youths to be well represented and to have, “an equal chance,” to also rule the country.
But how to do they intend to carry out their nomination exercise?
According to Murungi, the Jubilee Party will have national and county election boards, whose activities will be overseen by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) during the nomination exercise.
On Thursday, 11 parties among them the President’s The National Alliance (TNA), United Republican Party (URP) and Alliance Party of Kenya folded up.
READ: Kiraitu’s bus ends journey, hands over passengers to Jubilee
The new party has gained momentum after several opposition leaders defected to the party, among them Turkana Senator John Munyes, who ditched his role as the National Chairman of the Moses Wetangula-led Ford Kenya.
Other than vowing to lobby for the new party in all parts of the country, he said he would be talking, “to my brother Wetangula,” to draw him into the Jubilee Party fold, “since it’s not too late. This is the direction that the country is headed to.”
Orange Democratic Movement nominated MP Isaac Mwaura, Mathare legislator Stephen Kariuki, Sirisia MP John Waluke (ODM), Nakuru MP Samuel Arama (ODM) AND Loima MP Protus Akuja (ODM) have also defected to the new party.