Deputy President William Ruto-linked United Democratic Alliance (UDA) will next week begin nationwide meetings with 2022 General Election hopefuls.
The party has divided the country into six clusters and will meet the aspirants in phases as it seeks to solidify the rebranded outfit that Dr Ruto allies want him to use in his State House run next year.
In a press release sent to the media houses by the party's secretary-general Veronica Maina on Wednesday, the party said it will start its consultative meetings with aspirants drawn from parts of Mount Kenya, Eastern and Nairobi region, who will meet in Nairobi on May 20.
They will be followed by those from Western who will converge in Vihiga on May 24, North Rift (Eldoret) on May 25, South Rift (Nakuru) on May 27, Mount Kenya East (Meru) on May 31 and winding up with Mombasa on June 3 for the Coastal region.
Only party aspirants who have fully paid the imposed fee will be admitted in these forums.
“Those who have paid up and fully registered with UDA will receive communication on the modalities of the forum…we urge all the aspirants who have fully paid the registration fees, but have not yet availed all the details for registration, to finalise this process on our portal,” said Ms Maina yesterday.
Aspirants eyeing ward representative seats will pay Sh2,000, those seeking National Assembly posts as well as party positions will pay Sh5,000.
Governor and Senate hopefuls will pay Sh10,000 while those intending to seek the party’s ticket to run for the presidency are required to part with Sh100,000.
“The party has gotten many aspirants from Nairobi, Murang’a, Nakuru and North Eastern counties even though the numbers are in thousands,” said a source at the party headquarters.
Ms Maina told the Nation that they are taking the party to the people arguing that they do not want a scenario where a party is managed from Nairobi.
“We are out to decentralise the management of the party, we want the people to own it and this can only happen if we get out of Nairobi and meet them, this is coming up with a model that people are governed by regulations they have come up with,” she said.
She says that in what is their broader scheme of solidifying their bases as succession of President Uhuru Kenyatta gears up, they would like to get ideas from the party aspirants on how best the party can be managed.
“It is a participatory approach, this forum will provide an opportunity for the party to engage aspirants on how the party can be run, how issues of nominations can be handled,” Ms Maina said adding that the meeting will give aspirants fair ground to air out their ideas they want the party to use.
Ms Maina maintained that the elected Jubilee MPs who would like to join UDA cannot do so at the moment due to the conditions of Political Parties Act Clause 14 (5) that will deem them to have resigned from the previous political party.
According to the Elections Act, around February, parties intending to participate in the General Election due in August are required to submit their nomination rules.
The law requires the rules be submitted at least six months to the nomination of candidates.
For one to be eligible to contest in party primaries, one must be a member, which means UDA, like other parties, will be required to submit a party membership list in April- 120 days to the elections.
According to UDA’s chairman Johnstone Muthama, the party has appointed county coordinators in a bid to curb scenarios in which individuals appoint themselves as party officials.
Mr Muthama also disclosed that they want the party to be owned by people hence they are the ones who will have the say in the party leadership instead of leaders being imposed on them.
The DP for the first time last month disclosed that he is ready to use UDA in the race for State House if the ‘dictatorship’ in the Jubilee Party is not dealt with.
“If it gets to a point where they do not want us to be there in Jubilee, then we must have a different plan. You cannot wait to hit a wall. Going forward, if there is no agreement, then we will plan ourselves with UDA. We have built UDA in partnership with Jubilee. It is not us starting afresh. We are just going on with what we already have,” Dr Ruto said in a recent interview.
This comes even as the DP embraces regionalism as he pitches his economic program on what he will do for various regions if elected President.
Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said they are focused on the well-being of Mount Kenya past 2022 arguing that there is a need for the DP explaining to them how he will revive the agricultural sector more so coffee and tea.
“Our plans as team Ruto is to provide capital to the hustlers, how to reduce the public debt, and how to transform the lives of 19 million hustlers who are in the informal sector,” said Mr Nyoro.
Already Coast leaders supporting the DP held a private meeting on Sunday and agreed on issues they will present to Dr Ruto in talks expected sometime this week.
The meeting, which was convened by MPs Aisha Jumwa, Owen Baya, Khatib Mwashetani and former Senator Hassan Omar is to prepare an economic blueprint they want factored in Dr Ruto’s bottom-up economic model.