7 December 2012

Kenya: TNA MPs Reject Mudavadi

CRACKS were already emerging yesterday in the Jubilee Coalition formed on Tuesday night by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.

Around 40 MPs allied to TNA declared that they would not accept Mudavadi as their presidential candidate. Speculation has been mounting that Uhuru may not run for president and will instead back Mudavadi.

On Monday Mudavadi was about to enter an election pact with Peter Kenneth but by Tuesday evening he had suddenly switched sides and joined forces with Uhuru and Ruto.

Uhuru and Ruto visited Mudavadi at his home on Tuesday morning and reportedly asked him to become the presidential candidate of the TNA/URP alliance.

According to the agreement signed, Uhuru and Mudavadi will go through the nomination process in the next two weeks to pick the coalition's presidential candidate. Ruto will be the running mate of whoever wins.

The Parliamentary Group meeting declared that the party would not even accept Uhuru being subjected to a nomination process with Mudavadi.

The MPs said they want the coalition to remain in its original format with Uhuru as the presidential candidate and Ruto as his running mate.

They said Mudavadi would be difficult to sell in Central region and that many voters might even back Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

They complained that Mudavadi's UDF party was trying to smuggle Kanu into the coalition. The MPs, who met at Boulevard Hotel in Nairobi for two hours over lunch, said that there was a serious backlash in Central over reports that Uhuru might step down in favour of Mudavadi.

MPs were summoned to the Boulevard meeting by text message early yesterday morning. "Morning mweshimiwa, due to arising complexities, unexpected scenarios and swift dynamics TNA parliamentary group needs to meet urgently. Either we are at the front in emerging plans or we sink and regret. Let's meet at Hotel Boulevard 12 noon. It is very urgent and necessary. Please don't fail," said the text message.

The MPs said after the meeting that they were being arm twisted by unnamed individuals. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was in Nairobi this week and warned Kenyans not to vote for individuals charged with crimes against humanity. He said that they would not be able to travel abroad if they were elected president.

"We are telling the Kenyan public to read our lips. If it is not Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and mheshimiwa William Ruto on the ballot, all roads will be leading to Bondo. We are prepared to take that decision. But we cannot be cajoled to join a candidate who we cannot be able to sell in our region," said Agriculture assistant Minister Kareke Mbiuki after the meeting.

Sports assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando said many voters from Central region have vowed not to register if Uhuru step down in favour of Mudavadi.

"The individuals that have been alluded to with the so called special addresses in this country, and who want to perpetuate themselves because they have been extracting from successive regimes including this one by way of blackmailing processes, and now they want to impose a leader and a system that they can control," said the Mukurweini MP.

"We are giving them the notice that we shall not entertain their seduction. We shall not entertain their blackmail. We shall not entering their arm-twisting. Uhuru is a shareholder, and the prefect and the leader of the team here," said Kabando.

Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi insisted that Uhuru would be on the ballot. "Uhuru Kenyatta will be on the ballot. He is the presidential candidate for TNA, and we wish to state in certain terms that we will not succumb to blackmail from any quarters, whatever the location, whatever the address. TNA, as far as we are concerned Uhuru is our candidate,"

"We as TNA are going to ask our national oversight body to withdraw from this coalition agreement with UDF," said nominated MP Amina Abdalla.

ODM nominated MP Rachel Shebesh, who switched to TNA in October, said politics will change if Uhuru and Ruto are not the coalition candidates.

"We are saying categorically that if it is not Uhuru on the ballot and William Ruto, Nairobi politics will have to take a new turn. We know our dynamics and we know the dynamics of Nairobi people. And those who support us, support Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. That is the ticket they know, any other ticket imposed on them will not sell in Nairobi," said Shebesh after their meeting.

As if to vindicate her words, Shebesh later accompanied Prime Minister Raila Odinga on a courtesy call to Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka at his office in Jogoo House along with Makadara MP Gideon Sonko.

Uhuru and Ruto are due to stand trial at the Hague from April 10 and 11 on charges of crimes against humanity arising from the 2007-8 post-election violence.

Yesterday Mwangi Kiunjuri's GNU yesterday said that it is undecided on who to support between Uhuru and Mudavadi.

Kiunjuri said that GNU supports the Uhuru/Mudavadi/Ruto coalition but it will field its own candidates in the elections. "We are supporting them but we do not want them to limit us. We are going to field our own candidates. We have 150 candidates all over the country and we are going to campaign vigorously for them," Kiunjuri said.

"We are a strong political party. Other parties think we are week but come the elections, they chaff will be separated from the wheat," Kiunjuri said.

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