Deputy President William Ruto and his new-found partners Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula have formed teams to thrash out a coalition agreement that should be ready by the April 9 deadline for registration with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.
The formation of the teams was one of the immediate actions the principals agreed to undertake after making public their partnership a week ago during the Amani National Congress (ANC) National Delegates Conference at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi.
“Teams exist. However, our teams are all focused on uniting Kenya and harmonising our economic empowerment programmes,” said Hussein Mohamed, the director of communications at Mr Ruto’s presidential campaign secretariat.
This comes as other parties also rush to finalise their pre-election agreements and deposit them with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP).
According to the new timelines contained in the recently passed amendments to the Political Parties Act, parties intending to approach the August 9 polls as a coalition have until April 9 to register their agreement. Azimio la Umoja Movement leaders, for instance, told Nation that their lawyers were making final touches to the agreement ahead of its registration this week.
Azimio coalition parties
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, a confidante of Mr Odinga, Saturday said more than 10 parties will be signing up later in the week to be part of the Azimio coalition.
"We met with the Registrar of Political on Friday to firm up the registration of the movement that will bring the country together. All the paperwork is already done by our lawyers and the entire process should be concluded in 10 days,” said Mr Mohamed, who reserved the name with the registrar.
Mr Odinga is planning a “mega launch” of Azimio at an event where he is also expected to name his running mate, who will likely come from Central Kenya, the most sought after vote basket in the August 9 General Election.
"What we have been doing are dress rehearsals. Campaign proper begins once we launch Azimio and give out our line-up. We will visit every corner and village in the republic to tell them why Baba (Mr Odinga) is the best for the future of this country,” the lawmaker said.
The formation of the Kenya Kwanza technical committee comes as former partners of Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula in OKA also begin to craft a new team to work out a pre-election agreement involving Wiper, Narc Kenya of Martha Karua and Kanu, among other outfits.
Ms Karua has come on board at OKA and insiders say she could be Mr Musyoka’s running mate in a pairing some had been hoping for even before Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula bolted out.
UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya will run under the ‘Kenya Kwanza Coalition’, a name that has been reserved by people close to Mr Mudavadi for more than a year even as he negotiated a pre-election pact under the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) with Wiper, Kanu and Ford Kenya. OKA had been reserved by Mr Musyoka’s people.
“Kenya Kwanza Coalition has just started. It was born at Bomas just a week ago. So people must sit down to negotiate the articles of the coalition,” Mr Mudavadi, through his spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi, told the Nation as he dismissed claims of a secret deal as “idle talk”.
Mr Kabatesi said ANC selected its team of eight members to the technical committee on Wednesday. “The first thing was to find a way to formalise the coalition. So it was agreed that we must appoint a technical committee to work out details. ANC constituted its team of eight people on Wednesday to work with the other parties to thrash out a coalition agreement,” he said.
Other sources said the eight include Ford Kenya representatives as UDA wants to deal with ANC and Ford Kenya as one. The panel is led by three members who were in the OKA technical team.
The ANC team from the OKA committee are Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja. Ford Kenya Organising Secretary Mandu Mandu represented Mr Wetang’ula in OKA and is expected to carry on the same role in the Kenya Kwanza committee.
UDA is expected to provide a list of its members to the committee this week. The name of former Law Society of Kenya president Nelson Havi, who leads the ‘UDA Lawyers Brigade', has featured as one of the potential UDA members, among others.
Tujibebe position unclear
The place of the Tujibebe Wakenya Party in the bigger deal with UDA is still not clear and it remains to be seen if they, too, will have a representative in the technical committee. The party is associated with former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo.
A source within UDA said the Kenya Kwanza Coalition is also hoping that former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and The Service Party he leads will join up with them this week before the team gets down to work.
"In principle, the technical committee is on, but we are hoping TSP will link up with us before we get down to business," the source said.
Mr Kiunjuri on Friday disclosed that they would hold talks with UDA to join the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
“You already know who my friend is, but we have not discussed anything with UDA on the way forward. We will do so soon,” Mr Kiunjuri said.
UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina also alluded to some ongoing processes in a statement the party released Saturday.
“The details of the cooperation between UDA, ANC, Ford Kenya and any other political party, if at all, will be formally unveiled by the principals at an appropriate time.”
Mrs Maina described the current arrangement with ANC and Ford Kenya as "a working understanding" with the actual deal still a work in progress.
The technical committee will work on an agreement that will spell out how the parties forming the Kenya Kwanza Coalition share power, including appointments to the Cabinet and other government positions in case they win the presidency on August 9. Also to be dealt with is how Kenya Kwanza will operate in parliament including agreeing on leadership in the National Assembly and the Senate.
The sharing of political parties’ funds among member outfits and agreements on the zoning of the country are some of the things to be included.