President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s coalition plans are taking shape after their allies applied for the reservation of two possible names although one faces legal hurdles.
The proposed names they want the Registrar of Political Parties to reserve for the coalition are Azimio la Umoja and Alliance for Change.
Mr Odinga made several nationwide tours under the ‘Azimio’ banner before he jetted out to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday for an infrastructure conference.
“They want to reserve the names and our team is still going through our records to verify whether they are already earmarked then we shall duly respond,” the registrar, Ms Anne Nderitu, told the Nation yesterday.
The application was signed by Mr Odinga’s close ally, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, with whom he’s attending the ‘Spotlight on Africa Infrastructure Development’ forum in Dubai.
Mr Mohamed is a member of the Jubilee-ODM coalition building team alongside Mr Raphael Tuju (Jubilee secretary-general), Mr David Murathe (Jubilee vice-chairman) and Mr Edwin Sifuna (ODM secretary-general).
“I made the application, but we’re yet to receive the response from the registrar’s office. Once we get the clearance, then we shall officially communicate,” the Suna East legislator told Nation on phone.
However, there could be a legal hiccup in reserving the name Alliance for Change because there is a party named Alliance for Real Change.
The Registrar of Political Parties will rule on this although there is no law that prohibits outright similar use of names for a party and a coalition. That the party’s name has an additional inscription – Real – could distinguish the two.
Section 8 of the Political Parties Act states: “The Registrar may refuse an application for the registration of a political party if the name of the political party, the abbreviation of the name or the symbol that it wishes to use for the purposes of this Act — is an abbreviation of another political party that is registered under this Act or so nearly resembles the name or symbol, or an abbreviation of the name of another political party registered under this Act.”
Yesterday, Mr Tuju said that while they were yet to agree on a coalition name, talks were ongoing. “The only position of Jubilee is that we’re engaging with Wiper, ANC and Ford-Kenya in the sense that the vision is to bring the country together. So it’s not exclusive to ODM. It’s just a matter of time and we will be announcing progress.
“The only thing is that we don’t want to do it in the public domain and we’re not able to give a minute by minute update,” he added.
The two outfits are also in talks with the Party of National Unity (PNU) linked to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. The royal blue colours that Mr Odinga has been using in his ‘Azimio’ meetings might be adopted by the coalition.
Political analysts and ODM-Jubilee sources also believe the ‘handshake’ team will morph into a movement dubbed ‘Azimio’.
“We needed to reserve the name for a possible coalition. Our campaigns will be hinged on the quest for peace and unity. The name is just perfect for our vehicle,” said a source.
Though Mr Odinga has been using the ‘Azimio’ rallies to foster peace, they have had political connotations as a majority of ODM delegates have already endorsed him well ahead of the party primaries.
Mr Sifuna said the meetings will resume on November 12 with the Lower Eastern edition covering Machakos, Makueni and Kitui. “We shall then move to Mt Kenya West on November 28.”
The last rally will be held in Nairobi on December 6, when Mr Odinga is expected to declare his bid for State House.
The ODM leader has warned opponents of a looming political tsunami and has urged One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders to join him for a formidable force that would beat Deputy President William Ruto at the ballot.
OKA has Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford-Kenya), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party).
Kanu secretary-general Nick Salat told Nation there were ongoing talks “within the BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) fraternity” for a united front ahead of next year’s presidential polls.
“We’re talking to more stakeholders and the fraternity of BBI is not dead because we are yet to achieve our goals,” Mr Salat said.
Kanu has a post-election coalition arrangement with Jubilee, while Wiper has a co-operation agreement with the President.
Its own flagbearer
ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula, however, said OKA was determined to field its own flagbearer.
“We’re now done with boardroom talks and will begin our rallies in Kakamega. All OKA principals will address our delegates meeting at Golf Hotel at 10am after which they will address rallies,” he said.
Former NASA chief executive Norman Magaya, who now heads Mr Musyoka’s campaign secretariat, said alliance talks were ongoing with other parties and candidates.
“Running a presidential campaign isn’t easy. You’ve to ensure everything is in place. Everyone decides the time to charge forward because it’s like a marathon,” he said.