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PNU to hold grassroots polls

NAIROBI, August 22 – The Party of National Unity (PNU) has settled on dates for its grassroots elections and a campaign to strengthen itself nationally.

A Parliamentary Group meeting chaired by President Mwai Kibaki on Friday afternoon resolved to begin recruitment of members on September 15 and hold grassroots polls on October 12.

The party’s Coordinating Committee chairperson Noah Wekesa emerged out of the meeting to announce that MPs had resolved to have both corporate and individual membership.

“Corporate members are however, expected to comply with the Political Parties’ Act individually,” he said.

Wekesa said members present at the meeting reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring a competitive process in the recruitment drive.

“We are all opposed to the culture of hand-picking party representatives and that is why we are attaching so much importance to the elections,” he said.

Wekesa said President Kibaki was also supportive of compliance with the Political Parties’ Act.

He said members were encouraged by the Head of State to ensure the act was fully complied with.

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“We do not want any conflict with the law. That is why President Kibaki is supportive of this initiative and members have pledged to comply,” Wekesa said.

During Friday’s meeting, a list of interim Provincial coordinators was also agreed upon.

Wekesa said Members of Parliament chosen would be responsible for coordinating the October grassroots elections.

Dagoreti MP Beth Mugo will represent Nairobi Province, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (Central), Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi (Eastern) and Wekesa (Western).

Nyanza will be represented by Education Minister Professor Sam Ongeri while his Internal Security counterpart Professor George Saitoti will coordinate in the Rift Valley Province.

Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere was selected to coordinate party affairs at the Coast Province while North Eastern Province will be supervised by Defense Minister Yusuf Hajj.

“These are just interim officials mandated to coordinate affairs in their respective areas and prepare for the elections,” Wekesa said.

The new provincial representatives had all attended Friday’s meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

The party is targeting at least 200 members from each province.

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The coordinators are also mandated to organise elections and create awareness of the party.

PNU risks de-registration by December 31 if it fails to conduct grassroots elections.

Wekesa re-affirmed the commitment of Ford Kenya, Democratic Party of Kenya and Ford People as PNU affiliate members.

“These are our affiliate party members,” he said.

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