NAIROBI, October 28 – The controversy over the nomination of councillors is back with Narc Kenya demanding 38 slots, which they claim were taken from them irregularly.
Party chairperson Martha Karua protested on Tuesday that although the party got more than 300 councilors in the 2007 elections, their nominees were given to the Party of National Unity affiliates instead. She said the party had written a protest letter to the Minister for Local Government Musalia Mudavadi.
“We are not in contention with anyone because it is well stipulated in the law that when you have three councilors you get one nominated,” she said adding that they were waiting for a response from the minister. “We don’t want a union of favouritism where others take the share that does not belong to them,” she told a delegates’ meeting for the party’s Nairobi branch.
Former Minister for Local Government Uhuru Kenyatta came under fire from various political parties early this year over allegations that he manipulated a list of the nominees forwarded to him by the Electoral Commission of Kenya. PNU affiliates claimed that Mr Kenyatta replaced their nominees while the Orange Democratic Movement claimed that the minister allocated some of its slots to PNU. Mr Kenyatta was also accused of appointing 200 extra councilors, contravening the Local Government Act.
In August, Mr Mudavadi revoked the nomination of 57 councilors and appointed another 64 whose names were struck out by Mr Kenyatta. He was however criticised for nominating more councilors than the law allows. A number of the councilors whose nomination was cancelled went to court to protest. Later that month the High Court reinstated four councillors from Kitui and Mavoko county councils whose names were axed by Mr Kenyatta.
Ms Karua said that Mr Mudavadi had powers to rescind the decision by Mr Kenyatta. “We wrote to him a few weeks ago and we tabulated this in accordance with the law,” she stated. The Justice Minister explained that they lost control of the nomination since the PNU secretariat was handling it.
Ms Karua was speaking at an induction seminar for the party’s Nairobi Branch delegates, where she said she won’t relent on her presidential ambitions for 2012.
“By giving the notice early I told people to watch how I am taking my responsibilities so that I can be judged whether I deserve the top seat. If you ask the Gichugu people I am doing fine. I am also doing very well with the responsibility at my ministry,” she said.
The Minister has come under fire from various quarters for expressing her ambitions ‘too early’. President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have already dismissed the 2012 campaigns as distractions.
The party will hold its National Delegates Conference on November 15 to endorse its national leadership and pass its draft constitution. Ms Karua said that the posts would be divided amongst the eight provinces to comply with the requirements of the Political Parties’ Act which requires parties to have a nationwide image.
The Chairperson was flanked by the party’s Secretary General Asman Kamama who said the party was on course in the recruitment of members countrywide. He added that they had so far inducted 182 branches out of the 210. “This is the only party in this country that is almost becoming compliant. By mid next month we will have met all the requirements.”
The act which came into force in July this year will be operationalised in January next year and those parties which will not have met the provisions risk deregistration.
The Justice Minister in the meantime maintained that the Waki report should be implemented in full.