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PNU affiliates fully back Hassan in Kamukunji

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – The Party of National Unity (PNU) on Wednesday resolved to back Yusuf Hassan as its flag bearer in the Kamukunji by-election to be held on May 23.

The party\’s Secretary General Kiraitu Murungi ruled out reports that one of its affiliate parties would be fielding a separate candidate as reported in one of the local dailies.

The media report had indicated that the immediate former Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua had been endorsed by KANU, which is one of the PNU affiliates.

"You know that just like there\’s a split in ODM, there\’s a faction of KANU which always goes the other way and when a crucial part of their leadership says it is in the alliance, the Secretary General says he is not. So that should not worry you," said Mr Murungi.

KANU chairman Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that the party supports the candidate who was picked under the banner of PNU after primary nominations.

PNU Deputy Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni further appealed for unity among all members saying those who lost last week\’s nomination should accept defeat and work together for the good of the party.

He argued that it was improper for an individual to seek a separate nomination within the coalition after losing out on the nomination exercise that brought together more than 10 political parties.

"We as a coalition are only aware of one candidate in the name of Yusuf. Those who competed together with Yusuf but lost should not go round looking for other tickets because we want to move the country forward," he said.

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PNU Vice Chairman George Nyamweya also called for the amendment of the Political Parties Act saying it would help govern and guide coalition parties. He called for discipline among the party members saying they should promote democracy at all times.

"We must be principled and must not always change our tunes. If you are in a coalition you must remain in that coalition unless it is disbanded.  If Mr Mbugua, who participated in our nomination and lost, is seeking his luck elsewhere that is something for him and his conscience," he said. 

The leaders were speaking during the party\’s Parliamentary Group meeting where they presented Mr Hassan with his nomination certificate.

Mr Hassan called for free and fair campaigns and pledged to work for the people of Kamukunji.

"I feel really honoured by the PNU alliance for nominating me as their candidate for Kamukunji. I also want to assure the electorate of my commitment and promise to meet the demands that they make to their parliamentarian," he said.

He also expressed confidence in winning the by-election saying tribal politics would not come into play.

"I promise everyone that as a patriot I will be campaigning peacefully and democratically so as to unite our people. It will be a campaign that focuses on issues and not personalities," he said.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo, co-government chief whip Johnstone Muthama, MPs Mohamed Affey, Peter Kaloki and David Ngugi were also present. 

Mr Hassan will be facing ODM\’s Johnny Ibrahim, Narc-Kenya\’s Brian Weke and Paul Mwangi of the National Vision Party during the by-election.

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