NAIROBI, July 24 – The steering committee appointed to work out modalities of strengthening the Party of National Unity (PNU) has endorsed a proposal by most of its affiliates to adopt corporate membership as the party struggles to strengthen itself ahead of the 2012 polls.
In a report handed to President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday, the committee recommended the amendment of the party’s constitution to accommodate the new arrangement.
According to Chairman Noah Wekesa, the committee advised the President to convene a round- table meeting of the seven key affiliates in a fresh bid to woo defiant parties into the unity agenda. The meeting has been set for next week.
"It is incumbent at the leadership of PNU to re-look at that constitution so that it becomes relevant with the new development," he said. "We are meeting those party leaders among them FORD Kenya, DP, NARC Kenya and FORD People; we are telling them that this is the way to go".
KANU, ODM Kenya, Sisi Kwa Sisi, Grand National Union and Safina, among other 31 small parties, have already given their nod to the union.
Wekesa said that a Parliamentary Group meeting would then take place after the President met with the top brass of the key affiliates together with the defiant partners.
The 15-member committee was formed last week following a top-level meeting chaired by the President intended to rally the affiliate parties behind one formidable body. This, however, drew mixed reactions with key partners dismissing the dissolution idea. The unity agenda is being fronted as PNU struggles to comply with provisions of the Political Parties Act by the December deadline.
Wekesa, in the meantime, allayed fears that the party was being modelled with specific individuals in mind.
"I can assure you that this is going to be a people’s party and anyone who wants to be the leader will be elected by Kenyans," the Chairman assured.
Those opposed to the unity agenda have raised suspicions that the union was a move to dupe them in support of specific interested persons who are riding on the goodwill of the President and top party officials. Party wrangles have intensified as the succession debate raged on.
NARC Kenya Chairperson Martha Karua and FORD Kenya’s Musikari Kombo have remained defiant and insisted that their parties were strengthening themselves for 2012.
Wekesa insisted that those not interested in the union would not be allowed to derail the PNU agenda. He nevertheless warned that the small parties would have themselves to blame if they failed to meet the requirements of the Political Parties Act.
"I can assure you that those requirements are difficult to achieve and you will see the small parties are going to fold," he intimated.
Other recommendations of the report include election of party officials and recruitment of members in compliance with the Political Parties Act.
PNU was constituted late last year and supported by parties which were backing the re-election of Mwai Kibaki as President.