Affiliate parties tell Ruto to go slow on Kenya Kwanza merger

Communist Party of Kenya chairman Mwandawiro Mghanga

Communist Party of Kenya chairman Mwandawiro Mghanga. Mr Mghanga said his party will not dissolve.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto’s plan to have a single ruling party has been met with rebellion, with some Kenya Kwanza Alliance affiliate parties vowing not to fold up and join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Already, UDA has set August as the deadline for the merger. 

Dr Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua have mandated former Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala, who is now the secretary-general of the wheelbarrow party, to spearhead the merger.

Though Mr Malala says no Kenya Kwanza coalition affiliate party will be coerced into dissolving and joining UDA, many outfits in the alliance are not receptive to the idea.

They argue that making them fold will kill democracy.

“The parties that agree with our plan will run the government with us. We will not force anybody to fold. We will allow them to maintain their parties but there will only be one ruling party,” Mr Malala said.

Kenya Kwanza comprises 18 parties. These include Amani National Congress (ANC), Ford Kenya, Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), the Democratic Party (DP), The Service Party, Tujibebe Wakenya Party, Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM).

Others are the Communist Party of Kenya, Farmers Party, Devolution Party of Kenya, Economic Freedom Party, Umoja na Maendeleo Party, National Agenda Party of Kenya, Grand Dream Development Party, Movement for Democracy and Growth and Chama Cha Mashinani.

Cleophas Malala

UDA Secretary-General Cleophas Malala addresses journalists yesterday at Hustler Plaza in Nairobi on March 2, 2023. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

ANC Secretary-General Simon Kamau Gikuru, who held talks with Mr Malala on Thursday in the company of his Ford Kenya colleague Chris Wamalwa, maintained that the political outfit would support President Ruto for 10 years.

He refused to give a comment on whether the Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi-linked party will dissolve. 

“We intend to make the party strong and support the President win the second term. ANC will support Dr Ruto for 10 years but I cannot say anything on the issue of folding up,” Mr Gikuru said.

Yesterday, Farmers Party leader, Irungu Nyakera, said he is waiting for official communication from the UDA before tabling it before the party’s National Executive Council (NEC). 

He, however, insisted that the party would not wind up.

“Farmers Party has not received such communication from Kenya Kwanza or UDA. We cannot give any useful comment. We will do so on receipt of the official communication which we will then table to our NEC for deliberations,” Mr Nyakera said.

“But from a preliminary point, we do not have intentions of folding the Farmers Party and are unlikely to be swayed.”

A similar stance has been taken by MCC, which argues that giving the Kenya Kwanza affiliates independence boosts the chances of the coalition winning elections.


Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse, one of the MCC officials, told the Saturday Nation that folding affiliate parties in Kenya Kwanza would be to the disadvantage of the ruling coalition. 

President William Ruto

President William Ruto. The President's plan to have a single ruling party has been met with rebellion, with some Kenya Kwanza Alliance affiliate parties vowing not to fold up and join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Mr Mutuse argued that the alliance will be strengthened if Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties continue rebranding.

“Maendeleo Chap Chap is an independent party. I can confidently tell our members that we are not going to fold,” Mr Mutuse said. 

“Instead of dissolving, we will grow the party and make it stronger than it is. In doing this, we will contribute meaningfully to the ruling coalition.”

According to DP Secretary-General Jacob Haji, the announcement by Mr Malala is unconstitutional.

“Kenya is a multiparty democracy. When we took the decision to support Kenya Kwanza, there was no agreement on dissolving affiliate parties,” Mr Haji said. 

“We ask Mr Malala to concentrate on UDA. Let him not meddle in the affairs of the Kenya Kwanza affiliates.”

During a meeting with party members from the six Coastal counties in Mombasa, Mr Haji said DP would continue to support President Ruto’s 2027 re-election.

“We have noticed some changes in the Kenya Kwanza agreement and feel that President Ruto’s party wants to take over the affiliates. We urge UDA officials to desist from interfering with the Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties,” Mr Haji added.

Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi, who is a UDM official, said though the party would back Dr Ruto’s re-election, “asking us to fold is unrealistic”.

“UDM is part of the ruling Kenya Kwanza alliance and that will still be the case in 2027,” he said. 

“However, we will remain a distinct and independent party and go into the 2027 elections as UDM. We are not winding up.”

Communist Party of Kenya chairman Mwandawiro Mghanga told the Saturday Nation that it would not be possible to dissolve and join UDA.

Mr Mghanga argued that the Communist Party only joined Kenya Kwanza to champion the bottom-up agenda but that should not be construed to mean it shares ideology with the other affiliates.

“The Communist Party of Kenya cannot be dissolved. We have been pushing for the bottom-up progressive agenda. Let the other parties dissolve if they want to,” he said.