Kenya Kwanza affiliates decry ‘betrayal’ by UDA

Joe Maathai

DP official Joe Maathai and Party Secretary General Jacob Haji in Nairobi on February 16, 2022. Mr Haji says only three parties appear to be recognised in the Kenya Kwanza coalition.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has come under criticism for failing to abide by the Kenya Kwanza Alliance agreement in regard to the instruments of the coalition six months after the General Election.

In the agreement, the ruling alliance had proposed a number of organs responsible for the running of the affairs, operations, activities and programmes of the alliance but none has been formed.

The wheelbarrow party is now being accused of sidelining its affiliates.

The alliance, for instance, was to come up with the county assembly caucus within 30 days after the polls and elect its chairperson and deputy with the intention to plan, review and track the coalition’s legislative and representational agenda in county assemblies.

The Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group was to have a secretary and a whip with Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya of National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula.

The aim was to push for the ruling coalition’s legislative and other agenda.

Kenya Kwanza’s engine was to be the national secretariat which was supposed to bring together the secretaries-general of the political parties in the ruling coalition. The organ was to handle and deal with matters of the alliance as referred to by the Party Leaders’ Forum. 

For the sake of the coalition, the Party Leaders’ Forum was to be the top decision-making organ. 

It was to be chaired by President Ruto. The main objective of the organ would be to ensure the smooth running of the government and implementation of the Kenya Kwanza manifesto, policies, programmes and pledges to voters.

18 parties

Kenya Kwanza alliance now has 18 parties.

These are Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC, Ford-K, Senate Speaker Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), Attorney-General Justin Muturi’s Democratic Party, Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri’s The Service Party, former Kiambu governor William Kabogo’s Tujibebe Wakenya, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap and Mandera Senator Ali Roba’s United Democratic Movement.

The others are the Communist Party of Kenya, Farmers Party, Devolution Party of Kenya, Economic Freedom Party, Umoja na Maendeleo, the National Agenda Party of Kenya, the Grand Dream Development Party, Ugenya MP David Ochieng’s Movement for Democracy and Growth and Chama Cha Mashinani of former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto.

The other outfits – apart from ANC and Ford Kenya – are accusing UDA of armtwisting them and assuming that Kenya Kwanza only has three parties.

Democratic Party Secretary-General Jacob Ali Haji told the Sunday Nation yesterday that UDA has turned the ruling coalition into “one-man show”, casting doubt on the survival of Kenya Kwanza.

Dr Haji wanted to know how Kenya Kwanza would still exist when its leadership has not been instituted.

“In any coalition around the world, there is a good relation between the affiliate parties. We have never had any meeting as an alliance since August 9, 2022,” Mr Haji said. 

“We wonder what is going on. What kind of a political alliance are we running? There is no meeting to solve thorny issues like forming the leadership as the agreement we signed says.”

Communist Party of Kenya chairman, Mwandawiro Mghanga, said Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties feel sidelined.

He asked President Ruto to convene a coalition’s meeting as soon as possible “to salvage the deteriorating situation”.

“Kenya Kwanza principals should convene a meeting as soon as possible. Having none since the General Election does not create a good impression. It only means that Kenya Kwanza is for UDA, ANC and Ford-Kenya,” Mr Mghanga told the Sunday Nation.

“The organs promised have not be formed and other principals are not treated well. Perhaps they do not need other parties anymore. I heard, for instance, that the President would be in Taita Taveta County but have not been involved. It remains a UDA affair.”

Former Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera-led Farmers Party said whatever the wheelbarrow outfit has decided to do remains unhealthy for the coalition.

He added that the small parties have come to the terms that UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya are the only parties recognised in the coalition.

“We haven’t been called for a coalition meeting and are not aware if there are any plans for such a caucus,” he said. 

Dr Haji said decisions are being made by one party.

“When signing the Kenya Kwanza agreement, we were equal partners who did everything together to help Dr Ruto win. Things changed after the election. How will the coalition work when there are no meetings. UDA dominates everything. We are disappointed,” he said. 

At the same time, some of the individuals who were asked to step down for others ahead of the elections are now crying foul.

Mr Nelson Ogeto who had expressed interest in the Hamisi Parliamentary seat on ANC has taken the outfit to the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal, accusing it of failing to honour its promise.

He stepped down in favour of current MP Charles Gimose.

“An express contract was executed between the party and the complainant on the April 16, 2022, with the view of having him step down,” Mr Ogeto says in the petition. 

He adds that he was guaranteed the position of County Assembly Speaker, nomination to Parliament, legal adviser to the governor of Vihiga or nomination to the East Africa Legislative Assembly. 

The matter will be heard on February 16.