Prepare to fold, Malala tells UDA partners

Cleophas Malala

UDA Secretary-General Cleophas Malala addresses journalists yesterday at Hustler Plaza in Nairobi. The party unveiled new officials.  

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto’s UDA will start the process to have its affiliates in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance folded into one formidable force ahead of the 2027 elections, new party Secretary-General Cleophas Malala announced yesterday.

Speaking moments after talking over from Nominated Senator Veronica Maina, Mr Malala, who defected from Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) 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.

He added that he will spearhead the talks to reach out to all Kenya Kwanza partners and other like-minded parties to come together and support the President.

“One of my mandates is to begin dialogue with our partners so that to ensure we have one party against our opponents,” Mr Malala added. “We cannot have one government and several colours, that is our position and we shall talk to others.”

The announcement, which could unsettle other Kenya Kwanza affiliates including Ford Kenya, Maendeleo Chap Chap, and Pamoja African Alliance, came moments after President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua chaired the UDA National Executive Council (NEC) meeting that ratified leadership changes in the party.

In the new line-up, Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire was appointed national chairperson to replace Johnson Muthama who is headed to the Parliamentary Service Commission. East African Legislative Assembly MP Hassan Omar was named party vice-chairman, replacing Kipruto arap Kirwa who defected to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya ahead of last year’s election.

Kitutu Chache North MP Japheth Nyakundi replaces Omingo Magara as the treasurer following the former MP’s defection from UDA last year. Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka is the new organising secretary, replacing Karisa Nzai.

The new officials will serve on interim basis ahead of national elections to be held later this year, said Ms Maina at Hustlers Plaza in Nairobi.

ANC Secretary-General Simon Gikuru was told the Nation yesterday that yesterday that he had “no comment” on the plans announced by Mr Malala. However, Mr Malala said that Mr Mudavadi was aware of his move.

“He (Mudavadi) allowed me to join UDA and I want you to know that we did not do anything in secret. We cannot move in this direction and keep him in the dark. Even Lamu Governor Issa Timamy, who is my acting party leader, is aware,” Mr Malala said.

Mr Malala unsuccessfully contested the Kakamega governor seat on an ANC ticket.

National Assembly and Senate majority leaders Kimani Ichung’wa and Arron Cheruiyot, respectively, said Mr Malala’s appointment will inject the vibrancy of youth, while Ms Mbarire’s demonstrates President Ruto’s commitment to empower women in leadership.