NAIROBI, September 15 – The anticipated Party of National Unity (PNU) membership recruitment finally kicked off on Monday afternoon after hours of delay and confusion at the party headquarters.
The exercise was launched by PNU Coordinator Noah Wekesa, who blamed the delay on logistical issues.
“Some members felt that we should begin tomorrow (Tuesday) since some documents were not ready, but it makes no difference now that we have started,” he said.
In Central Province, where PNU has a large following, several supporters knew nothing of the registration exercise that is considered to be the first step towards strengthening the party.
There was also little activity in constituency branch offices in Nyeri, Murang’a and Kirinyaga, where members who had come prepared to register saw nothing that indicated the exercise was taking place.
The recruitment finally began but at the PNU headquarters, where Wekesa said that those wishing to register as members could from Tuesday get their membership cards at Sh10.
He said they would be opening offices in all the 210 constituencies for easy registration, and explained that a register would be compiled for each constituency at the close of the exercise.
“Membership cards will be available in every constituency from membership recruitment officers. We shall be publishing the list of the officers later,” he added.
Anyone interested in purchasing membership cards would have to produce their national identification and voter’s cards at the point of purchase.
Meanwhile, PNU’s Convener for Eastern Province Kiraitu Murungi has downplayed Sunday’s withdrawal of eight Meru MPs from the party.
Kiraitu stated: “Those saying the Meru region has rejected PNU, let them wait and see. PNU is going to be very strong in Meru.”
The MPs, among them three Assistant Ministers, ditched PNU to form a new party; whose officials they said would be named in two weeks.
Led by Higher Education Assistant Minister Kilemi Mwiria and his Agriculture counterpart Japheth Kareke, the legislators dismissed the PNU elections as a gimmick meant to endorse a pre-determined leadership.
PNU’s recruitment drive comes ahead of planned grassroots elections in October, which are meant to ensure that the party complies with the Political Parties Act.
The exercise has divided the party, with three of its main affiliate member parties threatening to take action should the polls go ahead.
The Democratic Party of Kenya (DP), SAFINA and Narc Kenya have accused PNU of violating the Memorandum of Association agreed on by the seven main affiliate parties after they recently resolved to accept corporate and individual membership.