19 December 2012

Kenya: Uhuru Disowns Mudavadi

The Jubilee coalition is now set to pick its presidential flagbearer. ( Resource: Kenya's Jubilee Coalition Rally )

ACRIMONY in the Jubilee Coalition intensified yesterday as Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi claimed that he had been betrayed Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

"I signed after dark forces forced me to sign a document, claiming that another Kikuyu cannot be elected president and foreigners would not give Kenya aid," Uhuru told 1,400 TNA delegates yesterday at Multimedia University College in Mbagathi.

"Ruto, Musalia and myself can lead Kenya but TNA leaders have resolved that I have no power to give away the presidency. I will only listen to their decision and nothing else," Uhuru said.

"My message to Musalia is if Kenyans pick him, I will not seek any position in government but will accept whatever position he gives me. If it is I, I hope he will work with me," he said. He added that the last few weeks have been very difficult for him.

Uhuru has been facing immense pressure from MPs and delegates from The National Alliance party to disown the deal signed with Mudavadi two weeks ago. Uhuru said that there was a "devil" that did not know how much he and Ruto have done to unite Kenyans in their alliance.

"They started telling Kenyans that our ticket would have us isolated by the international community. Then they said a Kikuyu cannot be president," Uhuru said. Uhuru said the forces against him were also pushing to have Ruto drop out from being his running mate for deputy president.

He explained why he had signed the agreement promising that Mudavadi could be the presidential candidate for Jubilee. "I thought about it and told them that I will cede my position and agreed and signed an agreement. My aim was to help the country and did it because I did not want Kenya getting into trouble again," Uhuru said.

Uhuru did not identify the "dark forces" against him but it has been widely reported that State House and the NSIS believe that a Mudavadi presidency would be less divisive and also reduce the risk of international sanctions against Kenya.

At his headquarters in Kileleshwa, Mudavadi told a news conference that had Uhuru had reneged on their deal. "On the critical question of the presidential candidate, Hon. Uhuru proposed that stated categorically that he had been reflecting on the state of affairs in the country and found it necessary to make a major personal sacrifice. That after consultation he had decided to withdraw his candidature and wished to support me as the coalition candidate for president," Mudavadi said.

The agreement was not deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties. It was signed at Uhuru's residence on December 3 in the presence of Ruto and lawyers for TNA and UDF. The agreement did not mention a national delegates conference to pick the Jubilee candidate.

Mudavadi said that he then quickly dispensed with negotiations with other parties to join the Jubilee Coalition. An ally of Mudavadi said that the three leaders agreed to share out government positions using a formula where Mudavadi as the president would get 25 percent of the positions, deputy presidential candidate Ruto would get 33, and Uhuru 41 percent. One per cent was reserved for other 'friendly' parties.

"Before the DPM accepted to sign the deal there was an informal agreement that Uhuru would relinquish his interest in the presidency for Mudavadi. The presidential candidate was to lose eight per cent of government positions and remain with 25 per cent," said the MP who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The press conference followed a meeting of the UDF political council. The DPM was accompanied by MPs Mohammed Abdikadir, Jeremiah Kioni, Yusuf Chanzu, Ndiritu Muriithi, Boni Khalwale and George Khaniri. KANU secretary General Nick Salat was also at the press conference.

On Monday his ally and Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu said that it was Uhuru and Ruto who approached him to make a deal. "They drove to my residence that afternoon (December 4) in the company of (Najib) Balala and (Chirau) Mwakwere. Just before their arrival we had signed an agreement with the leaders of KANU," Mudavadi repeated.

An MP from Western said the hardliners pushing Uhuru to renege on the deal were William Kabogo, Naomi Shabaan, Amina Abdallah, Mithika Linturi, Kareke Mbiuki and Rachel Shebesh.

"They are pushing Uhuru to be on the ballot for their own selfish reasons without realizing that they are handing Prime Minister Raila Odinga and ODM victory," the MP said.

After meeting the TNA delegates yesterday, Uhuru insisted that Jubilee should choose its candidate democratically through a delegate system. "We agreed with Ruto to come together and preach peace in the country with the aim of uniting Kenyans," Uhuru said.He added that they then decided to form a political alliance aimed to unite and develop Kenya.

The TNA delegates told Uhuru that they would not accept any boardroom deal with Mudavadi. TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo kicked off the storm saying that any agreement with other parties must be ratified by the delegates.

"TNA unanimously opposes the said Uhuru-Mudavadi deal and refuse to be arm twisted by any quarters or individual. Only NDC can dictate to the party. Any agreement obtained through duress or coercion is not binding and stands dismissed by TNA delegates. It's Uhuru tosha," Oloo said.

Garsen MP Danson Mungatana said that the informal deal was not ratified by the party and it does not stand. TNA Chairman Johnson Sakaja said that party members refused to cede their "democratic right" to elect the leader of their choice.

"We have over the last seven months built a formidable party but there are some people trying to carjack our vehicle. We are not going to accept," Sakaja said. MPs at the meeting said that they had met the DPM on Monday night and resolved that the secret deal did not stand.

Yesterday afternoon the three Jubilee party chairpersons signed an extension to the coalition agreement was signed at Jacaranda Hotel. It extended the Jubilee coalition deadline for choosing its candidate to December 24.

"MM agreed at 4pm to stay in, and to sign an extension up to December 24," said a close adviser of Mudavadi. "I am sure that MM will eventually be the Jubilee presidential candidate, and all this has just been postponing the inevitable," said the adviser.

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