Scramble for Uhuru Kenyatta and TNA Party

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There is a rush by politicians in Central Kenya to get frontrunner status as contenders for The National Alliance party’s endorsement in the coming general election.

This comes just days after Uhuru Kenyatta launched TNA in an expensive and colourful ceremony in Nairobi under the slogan “I believe”.

In Nyeri County, Kieni MP Nemesyus Warugongo accused some of his challengers of seeking to hijack the affairs of the party even before it opens offices in the area.

“I have been told some people in Kieni want to announce the opening of the TNA office this (last) weekend. They have not been given the go ahead as officials are busy organising the county office, which will give proper directions. Let them not spoil our party,” said Warugongo.

From the list of dignitaries who attended TNA launch, it is clear that no one wants to be seen to be against Uhuru.

TNA officials want all the parties supporting Uhuru’s candidature to vie for their seats through the outfit.

The party’s Secretary General Onyango Oloo has said the party was keen to ensure it has the requisite numbers to support Uhuru’s presidency.

“We don’t want to see a situation where Uhuru is the president but lacks the numbers to push the TNA agenda in Parliament. We are a political party that is run professionally,” said Oloo.

He said the best thing the parties can do to ensure Uhuru succeeds in his bid for the presidency is to support him within TNA.

“They may support him through other parties, but when they get to Parliament, he will not able to whip them to support his agenda, and this will make the situation difficult,” said the official.

Already, key politicians have started swearing allegiance to the new party even before the proper grassroots structures are put in place.

The presence of MPs allied to different parties during the launch at Kenyatta International Conference CentreKICC  has led to speculation that all politicians from the region may be heading in that direction.

MPs allied to other parties that attended the launch included assistant ministers Kabando wa Kabando and Mwangi Kiunjuri and MPs Njoroge Baiya and William Kabogo.

Kabando and Baiya have been among the youthful MPs coalescing around Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed who is allied to the United Democratic ForumUDF.

Abdikadir and Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni were with Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi in Mombasa when Uhuru was unveiling TNA.

Kiunjuri on the other hand has been busy popularising the Grand National Union (GNU) while Kabogo belongs to Narc Kenya.

The launch of TNA, however, was a big blow to Kiraitu Murungi’s Alliance Party of Kenya, which was expecting Uhuru to be its presidential flag bearer. Kiraitu was conspicuously absent during the TNA launch as was Internal Security Minister George Saitoti who has clung to PNU.

Kiraitu was on Wednesday unavailable for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.

But one of his close allies said the Energy Minister was disappointed with Uhuru’s move to give the party a wide berth and instead join TNA.

“We even went ahead and changed the name to conform with the specifics that Uhuru wanted. He did not want the party to be seen as PNU but he has chosen to ignore the party altogether,” said the Kiraitu ally.

He said the party has to go back to the drawing board having entered into a partnership with the Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement.

“We hoped that Uhuru would join the alliance and work out on pre-election agreement with the VP. Kiraitu is now disappointed that his work is going to waste,” said the associate who did not want to be named.

Kiraitu and Siakago MP Lenny Kivuti, who attended the launch, have been leading the Alliance Party (formerly known as PNU Alliance) in the region.

Kivuti on Wednesday described as misconception claims that the Alliance party would die because Uhuru had launched his own outfit.

“A party does not belong to an individual. If Uhuru is not there, there are others. But it is not necessarily that we will have a presidential candidate,” said Kivuti.

He said the party was formed after Uhuru, Kalonzo, Saitoti and Kinangop MP David Ngugi (representing smaller parties) entered into an agreement to work together.

“The party is fully registered and we are ready to negotiate with other parties on our terms. The party belongs to the people,” said the MP.

Nithi MP Kareke Mbiuki declared he would seek re-election through TNA.

Mbiuki said after reading the mood on the ground, he has no option but to disown Kanu through whose ticket he was elected to Parliament in the 2007 general elections.

The legislator said the newly launched party had captured the attention of the entire sundry and there was nothing he could do to prevent the euphoria.

“Everyone who matters in this country is singing the TNA song, who am I to be left in isolation other than joining the majority?” he posed.

From the larger Meru only Mbiuki and his Igembe South counterpart Mithika Linturi who were elected on a Kanu ticket in 2007 general elections while both are first timers in Parliament.


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