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KANU crows yet again

NAIROBI, November 27 – The Kenya African National Union (KANU) has filled top posts in its hierarchy left vacant following the defection of officials in the run-up to last year’s general election.

Former Baringo Central Member of Parliament Gideon Moi buried his differences with the Party Chairman Uhuru Kenyatta to take up one of KANU’s four vice-chairmanship positions.

Cabinet Minister Sam Ongeri replaced Orange Democratic Movement’s Dalmas Otieno from Nyanza while Nominated MP Amina Abdala and former Cabinet Minister Marsden Madoka took up the other slots previously held by Henry Kosgey and Chris Okemo respectively. Mr Kosgey is now Minister for Industrialization and is also in ODM.

Mr Kenyatta called on the new team to work in harmony to restore the popularity of the party whose fortunes dwindled following Mr Kenyatta’s decision to back President Mwai Kibaki’s re-election.

“There were many people who wanted these seats but they will have to wait for the national elections in 2010. For now let’s be one and build our party,” Uhuru told delegates at the party’s National Delegates Conference (NDC) at the Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi.

Former KANU Chief Whip Justin Muturi was appointed Organising Secretary replacing Gideon Ndambuki who is in ODM Kenya, while the Secretary General’s slot left vacant by William Ruto (now Agriculture Minister) was taken up by former Bomet MP Nick Salat.

Plans to create the position of party leader were scrapped during a National Executive Committee meeting on Thursday. Rift Valley delegates had been pushing for the formation of the new position and wanted it reserved for former powerful Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott.

Mr Biwott’s supporters said he deserved the slot for being the most senior member of the party.  Biwott was conspicuously missing at Thursdays NDC.

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The positions were filled at a National Governing Council meeting which preceded the National Delegates Conference.

The NDC was meant to amend the party constitution to comply with the Political Parties Act. The Act requires all parties to file annual returns, have registered officials and members in all the districts, among other things. It came into effect in July and parties are to comply with its provisions by December 31.

“This special delegates conference has been convened so that you can be taken through the Act and explained in detail the amendments we need to pass in order to ensure we comply,” Mr Kenyatta told the delegates.

20 delegates from each of 210 constituencies in the country had been invited for the NDC. Officials said 4,500 delegates turned up.

ODM Kenya is due to hold a similar meeting on Saturday in a bid to comply with the Political Parties Act.

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