NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – Eldoret North MP William Ruto on Thursday led 17 MPs including two Cabinet Ministers into the hitherto unknown United Republican Party as the country gears up for the 2012 general elections.,
Speaking during a news conference to announce the party whose symbol is a horn, Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro said that the move was as a result of the leadership wrangle that arose in the United Democratic Movement (UDM) which was until early this week Ruto’s presidential bid vehicle.
The United Republican Party (URP) has the slogan – ‘Kusema na Kutenda’ and its colours are black, red and yellow separated by white stripes.
Cabinet Ministers Chirau Mwakwere and Naomi Shaban as well as Assistant Ministers Kazungu Kambi, Asman Kamama and William Cheptumo were among government officials who identified with the new party.
MPs Cyrus Jirongo, Charles Keter, Isaac Ruto, Mahamud Sirat, Chachu Ganya, Joshua Kutuny, Zakayo Cheruiyot and Peris Simam were also present at the launch.
Ruto who had trooped with his allies to the United Democratic Movement is reported to have quit in a huff following internal wrangles, after he failed to wrest its control from a faction led by the Secretary General, Martin ole Kamwaro and Chairman Lt Gen (Rtd) John Koech.
Ruto’s plans to take over UDM ran into a major hurdle after the Koech-Kamwaro group which claims they are the bona fide officials filed a case in the High Court seeking to block him and his supporters from the party.
A ruling on the matter is expected on January 24, where Koech claims that his replacement as UDM chairman in late 2010 was illegal.
“We have therefore in the spirit of peace and national unity allowed our friends and the backers to keep their party,” said Ethuro.
“From today henceforth, we shall be distinguished from all others by our unique identity as the Republicans of Kenya,” he said.
“We will advocate for a Republican government constructed on the foundation that sovereignty and authority being derived from the people as a whole and accountability is located within a community framework and the Constitution.”
In a move that is reminiscent of Ruto’s stand during the 2010 national referendum on the new Constitution, the party affirmed that it would oppose same-sex marriages as well as abortion ideologies.
“We respect the family as the basic unit of the nation, especially marriage being between man and woman and sanctity of life from conception.”
In outlining the party’s policies, Ethuro said they will push for principles of self-discipline and self-reliance which they say can only be achieved through the full implementation of the objectives of devolution as outlined in the Constitution.
The party will be officially launched on Sunday at a meeting to be attended by 1,000 delegates from 47 counties.
The meeting will also outline the programme of events which will include a roll out of rallies to popularise the party which will also coincide with a recruitment drive.