4 December 2008

Kenya: Biwott Forms New Party

Nairobi — Former 'Total Man' Nicholas Biwott is set for a political comeback.

The former Keyio South MP has taken over the little known National Vision Party and is set to become its party leader in the next two weeks.

"I chose this party because it offered me a chance to do politics that will benefit Kenyans. Other parties have their own interests but the National Vision Party will only champion the interests of common people," Biwott told the Nairobi Star yesterday.

Biwott's interim party officials have been rushing around trying to recruit members and complete arrangements for grassroot elections across the country because of the deadline imposed by the new Political Parties Act.

The Political Parties Act stipulates that all parties hold national elections and present returns to the Registrar of Political Parties by the 1 January, 2009. So far, only Kanu, Narc-Kenya and ODM-K have also held their national delegates conferences to elect new officials and fill vacant positions.

PNU is currently conducting its elections while ODM is yet to fix a date for its elections. The ODM elections are predicted to be very acrimonious since MPs from the Rift Valley have demanded that Eldoret North MP William Ruto be named Deputy Party Leader instead of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.

Yesterday was the deadline set by the Act for the filing of party constitutions by political parties but only five parties, including Biwott's, had filed their constitutions.

Former assistant minister Sammy Leshore is the acting National Vision Party chairman while Biwott is the party leader. A host of former MPs from Rift Valley, Western, Eastern, North Eastern and Coast provinces have also joined the party.

"This is going to be a massive movement of the both the young and old politicians who want to make a difference," said Leshore.

Biwott plans to bring about 2000 delegates to Nairobi to attend the national delegates conference which will also elect its office bearers.

The conference is tentatively scheduled for 20 December at Kasarani.

Biwott's decision to take over the little known party followed the refusal by KANU to create a new position of party leader that he coveted. Last week Kanu delegates affirmed that chairman Uhuru Kenyatta will continue to head the party.

Businessman and politician Kipyator Nicholas Kiprono arap Biwott was born in 1941 and became one of Kenya's most powerful politicians in the Moi era when he held various Cabinet posts.

He first ran for parliament in 1974 but was defeated. In 1979 he was successful standing on the KANU ticket in Keiyo-Marakwet, a seat that he retained in 1983 and 1988. In 1992,1997, and 2002 he was elected the MP for Keyio South.

He lost his seat last year to political novice Jackson Kiptanui of ODM.

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