Merge parties in Kenya Kwanza, but watch out, says Kahiga

Mutahi Kahiga

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga addressing the media at his Nyeri town office on January 13, 2023. He wants the merging of parties under Kenya Kwanza to be handled in a careful way.

Photo credit: James Murimi I Nation Media Group

President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua have been told to carefully oversee the plans to have affiliate parties within Kenya Kwanza Alliance folded into one formidable force ahead of the 2027 General Election.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga warned that if the process is not well conducted, members who agree to fold their parties could be mistreated, like what was witnessed in the former ruling party Jubilee.

In 2016, members of 12 political parties agreed to merge and join former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party. The merger of political parties is provided for in the Political Parties (Amendment) Act, 2016.

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary-General Cleophas Malala said his vision is to ensure President Ruto leads one united team into the next election.

“We shall not go into 2027 before we organise ourselves better and this is a sign that President Ruto plans his politics under one colour,” Mr Malala said recently.

But Mr Kahiga has told Dr Ruto and Mr Gachagua to be alert as Mr Malala streamlines the coalition.

“We have seen that there are plans to reorganise the UDA party. We are urging our President and his deputy to be alert and we have faith in them. Even as we are folding other parties within the coalition to come up with one party, we should be very careful not to slide and find ourselves where we were under the Jubilee party. We should not forget what we underwent,” Mr Kahiga said.

Mr Kahiga, who is also the Central Region Economic Bloc (Cereb) chairperson and an ally of the Deputy President, recalled how leaders were mistreated under Jubilee party for endorsing Dr Ruto’s presidential bid in the run-up to the August 9, 2022 elections.

“You can all remember how we were ejected from the Jubilee party like thieves yet we had invested heavily on it. One morning, we were told that we are unwanted,” Mr Kahiga said.

UDA party

“As they make such plans of strengthening our UDA party, we are telling our party leader William Ruto and deputy party leader Rigathi Gachagua to be alert,” he added.
He urged retired President Kenyatta not to involve himself in the country’s politics and focus on his continent’s peace-keeping mandate.

“We are telling our former President that he served his 10-year-term and his time has elapsed. That is the topmost position he attained and we wish him happy retirement. He should not be dragged back to local politics. That is messing up his legacy as a former Head of State,” the governor said.

East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) MP Kanini Kega has maintained that he is the legitimate secretary-general of the Jubilee party after the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) suspended Mr Jeremiah Kioni as its secretary-general and replaced him with Mr Kanini.

“I am categorically saying that I am the secretary-general of the Jubilee party and that is the position. There is no contradiction as to who the President of this country is because former President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over the instruments of power to Dr William Ruto,” Mr Kanini said.

The party also resolved to eject Mr David Murathe as its national vice-chairperson and replaced him with Eldas MP Adan Keynan.

The party’s NEC also resolved to leave the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition.