UDA dangles jobs, other goodies as mega party plan takes shape

Cleophas Malala

UDA Secretary-General Cleophas Malala (seated, right) officially receives some leaders from Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard who joined the ruling party. 

Photo credit: Pool

President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is now dangling State jobs and other lucrative deals to the Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties to fold up and join the ruling party, the Sunday Nation has established.

On Tuesday, six political parties — Umoja na Maendeleo Party, Farmers’ Party, Chama Cha Kazi (CCK), Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM), National Agenda Party of Kenya (NAP-K) and Economic Freedom Party — agreed to dissolve and join UDA.

With only CCK having started the dissolution procedure in October last year, the other five will have to notify all their members in two local dailies of the intention to merge with UDA and they will have 21 days to file their submissions supporting or opposing the merger from the day notice is given.

But even before then, the Sunday Nation has established that the leaders of these parties have demanded State appointments and other lucrative deals in government as well as a demand for a meeting with President Ruto to firm up the idea before they can fold.

UDA Secretary-General Cleophas Malala is leading the negotiations and the small parties have cited the deals inked by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC), National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap and Senate Speaker Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), whose members have been rewarded top State jobs.

“We are in fresh negotiations with UDA when it comes to us agreeing to fold up our parties. It is a two-way street. At the moment, we are just watching and waiting to see what is there for everyone,” said one of the leaders of the six parties who requested not to be named for fear of being reprimanded.

State jobs

He went on: “Our talks are centred around State jobs and business deals and even more to see how the agenda of our various parties can be retained in various structures or forms; that is part of the negotiations but it might be a while before anything is concluded.”

In an earlier interview with the Sunday Nation, Mr Malala disclosed that UDA would adopt a tokenism approach in order to persuade as many people as possible to join the Wheelbarrow Party.

“We are going to come up with a reward matrix whereby those who have registered as UDA members, we will give them incentives because we are the government and we are controlling resources in terms of opportunities and State appointments,” said Mr Malala.

Nyaribari Chache MP Zaheer Jhanda, another ally of President Ruto, said those seeking to benefit from the government must fold.

“If you are supporting President Ruto, then you have to join and support his party. We have no conditions but people should not think that joining the party, it’s an automatic way of securing a job. No, that’s not the case, even if you join UDA or KKA, that doesn’t guarantee that you will get a State job. The parties that have

folded made independent decisions to build a bigger, more efficient and strong party as we move to the future,” said Mr Jhanda.

Parties whose officials have rejected the merger plans are ANC, Ford-K, Democratic Party, MCC, United Democratic Movement and Communist Party of Kenya (CPK).

“Those who have decided to join UDA have not added any value because they do not have MPs or MCAs. And for Democratic Party which was founded by the late Mwai Kibaki and has been in existence for 32 years, we cannot accept to be swallowed by a party which is barely two years old. Even if they dangle those State jobs, we will not fold up,” said Democratic Party Secretary-General Dr Jacob Ali Haji.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua this week said they had advised Mr Malala not to force anyone in Kenya Kwanza to fold up their parties and join UDA, saying that they believe in democracy.

Join UDA

“Probably his style is a little bit different. I have discussed with him; we do not want to coerce anybody to fold up. That is not necessary. He cannot make an invitation for people to fold up and join UDA. They do not have to and we are happy the way we are in Kenya Kwanza. We are happy with the existence framework but if along the way the constituent parties consider that it is desirable to fold up and join UDA, so be it,” said Mr Gachagua.

This week, a delegation from Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard joined UDA, and some were two days later named as Chief Administrative Secretaries.

Those that landed CAS roles are former Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero, ex-Kisumu senator Fred Outa, and former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.

Former Kisumu governor Jack Ranguma, Odoyo Owidi, and ex-MP Omondi Anyanga have landed handed parastatal jobs.

“The President assured us that Nyanza is part of Kenya and it will not be left behind in terms of development and State appointments. He assured us that we will get our fair share of the government and now we will go to the ground to sell UDA,” Mr Owidi told the Sunday Nation.

With UDA set to conduct its grassroots polls in August, in a move to strangulate ODM in Nyanza, the leaders from the region who are coalescing around ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo are also lobbying for two national positions in the party.