, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 13 – The Party of National Unity Alliance on Friday started a recruitment drive that is designed to strengthen it ahead of the general elections which are now set for 2013 unless the coalition government is dissolved.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Democratic Movement) and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (KANU) led 16 MPs including two Cabinet Ministers and four Assistant Ministers in attending the function at the KICC.
Party of National Unity (PNU) Chairman Prof George Saitoti was however notably absent for the launch of the recruitment drive.
The three presidential aspirants in the PNU Alliance are seeking to succeed President Mwai Kibaki when his term expires.
They have been busy strengthening their respective parties in a bid to comply with the Political Parties Act 2011 and other election rules ahead of the upcoming general elections.
They plan to hold a joint presidential nomination for the PNU Alliance before fielding a single candidate against other contenders.
The PNU Alliance co-ordinator Kiraitu Murungi said they were confident of winning the next general elections.
“Being in an alliance does not require much… the thing about an alliance is we have to unite in order to get victory. That is why we keep insisting that anyone who is going at it on his own, there is no where he/she is going,” he said.
Murungi said all affiliate parties, including Kanu, Wiper Democratic Party and the PANU Alliance must comply with the Political Parties Act before March 31 to be able to participate in coalitions, mergers or alliances in future.
The grouping plan to change it’s from PNU Alliance to The Alliance Party of Kenya to avoid confusion during the recruitment.
Two weeks ago, the PNU Alliance adopted nomination rules to be used to determine who among Kalonzo, Saitoti and Uhuru becomes the presidential flag bearer. The rules have attracted scrutiny by the top three and their aides and continue to generate heated debate.
Saitoti, twice in one month, publicly sounded an alarm that the rules and process must be seen to be fair, otherwise he was out of it.
Kenyatta says he is confident they will stay united.
He said: “We are here in unity, because we believe in the same policies. As leader of KANU I am ready to work with PNU Alliance because we share the same policies. Wiper (Kalonzo) and his party must come together for the political good of this country.”
Kenyatta also said the unity of the leaders under the alliance would ensure the county does not witness again ugly incidents like the 2008 post-election violence.
Saying the youth are the biggest stakeholders in the country’s destiny, Kenyatta urged them to be wary of opportunistic politicians who may wish to incite them into violence during the next elections.
“It is time for a new generation, it is time for the youth to take control of your destiny and the destiny of your children”, Kenyatta said.
He said by working together in the alliance, like-minded leaders would be able to form the next government during the forthcoming elections.
“My politics would be for the unity of Kenyans and not their division,” Kenyatta said.
On Thursday, former Cabinet Minister and Kenyatta’s ally William Ruto led 17 MPs including two Cabinet Ministers to launch the United Republican Party.
The Vice President’s Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) has decided to join the alliance whose symbol is a bus, in a bid to unite all Kenyans.
“We cannot keep repeating political blunders; we have to get it right,” he told the crowd that attended the launch.
Kangundo MP Johnson Muthama, who is the alliance’s meetings convenor, said grassroots polls will start on February 17 at the ward level.
The party intends to register between 7.5 million to 10 million voters through the nationwide exercise.
To register, one will need a national identity card, voter’s card and will be required to pay Sh10 for the party’s membership card.
The date for national elections is yet to be set.
Meanwhile, two MPs associated with the Wiper Democratic Movement have distanced themselves from Friday’s launch of the PNU Alliance recruitment which was attended by their party leader and Parliamentary Chief Whip.
Yatta legislator Charles Kilonzo and his Mutito colleague Kiema Kilonzo said the party’s NEC and parliamentary group held in Machakos had resolved that it would not be part of the exercise, since the PNU Alliance is a competitor.
Charles Kilonzo dismissed the launch as a public relations exercise adding that the VP and Muthama attended the launch in their individual capacities.
“We have no intention whatsoever to quit Wiper Party, therefore the party will not lease it members to the PNU Alliance and as far as we are concerned today’s function is about public relations,” the Yatta MP said.
The MPs advised their party to continue with its individual recruitment drive citing that they cannot blindly be forced to join a newly formed party whose policies are not known.
“Saitoti was categorical that he will not attend the launch, and I don’t remember seeing him at the launch, and also the Kanu chairman said he was there to show solidarity with PNU Alliance, which means he has not gone there to tell his members to resign and join the alliance,” he said. “So there is no way we are going to tell out people to quit and go to a party that’s not saleable to other members within the coalition.”
At the same time Kilonzo challenged Muthama to declare his stand and stop confusing party members.
“We have a new Political Parties Act and we intend to use it on those members with the Wiper Party and in particular one Muthama for trying to sell this party to the PNU Alliance,” he stated.
Separately, KANU’s National Executive Council which was chaired by Kenyatta has announced its plans to conduct its own national member’s recruitment exercise from Friday.
Secretary General Nick Salat said the National Delegates Conference will be held in first week of February.