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PNU rules out direct nominations in 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 27 – The Party of National Unity (PNU) on Saturday ruled out direct nominations for the 2012 general elections, saying presidential, parliamentary and civic contenders in the coalition parties would have to face the ballot.

Party chairman George Saitoti said the nominations would be conducted by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission to ensure a free and fair process.

Prof Saitoti added that this would prevent a repeat of the 2007 elections where parliamentary and civic candidates were given direct nominations, causing divisions in the alliance party.

"We want a democratic process because that is what Kenyans will be looking for and it is the only way we will get victory. We must be adequately prepared for the elections and transparency is something we will have to put in mind," he said.

He further explained that each political party in the coalition would nominate its own candidate who would then participate in a joint-nomination before a single candidate was selected.

Prof Saitoti who was speaking during the party\’s governing council meeting in Nairobi added that PNU had also resolved to solidify the union in order to secure the presidency in 2012.

"You know, some people think that this party is a lion that has been rained on… we are not. In fact those who compare this party to a cat will be very surprised when that time (general election) comes," he said.

PNU Secretary General Kiraitu Murungi, Organising Secretary Maina Kamanda, Assistant Ministers Cecil Mbarire and Simon Mbugua together with other PNU-allied politicians were present at the meeting, where it was also revealed that the party was already canvassing to enlist other like-minded political parties to join the coalition.

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The move is also aimed at ensuring that the PNU captures the presidential seat in addition to garnering the majority political seats in all levels of governance.

Prof Saitoti however declined to name the personalities or political parties that the coalition would dialogue with.

"Those who have eyes will see. But I know you have heard that we have been talking to other parties and we are ready to collaborate with others because unity is strength," he said.
He further argued that going for the ballot as a lone party risked dividing the votes and reducing the party\’s political strength in the country. 

Meanwhile, in Nakuru, about 1,000 delegates and observers who were attending the GEMA Annual Delegates Conference resolved to back a single political party for the Central Kenya region.

The leaders decided to establish an ad hoc panel of eminent persons that would look into the issue in addition to selecting a presidential aspirant from among its members.

Constitutional crisis

Politicians allied to the PNU have also decided to hold consultations with MPs in order to solve the constitutional implementation crisis that is facing the country.

Prof Saitoti said that the party would dialogue with the lawmakers to ensure that the country\’s quest for an effective constitution was not derailed.

This follows a move by Parliament to frustrate the adoption of nominees to the Commission for the Implementation of the new Constitution as well as the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

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"The old constitution was like a patched-up suit… it had patches all over and we decided to do away with it and get a new one. We therefore have to work together to ensure that its contents are implemented," he said.

He added that legislators had a big role to play in ensuring that they facilitated the country\’s reform agenda.

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