22 May 2019

Kenya: Kibaki's PNU Party on Revival Bid Ahead of 2022

The Party of National Unity (PNU) whose ticket President Mwai Kibaki successfully defended his seat in 2007 disputed elections is preparing for a major revival ahead of 2022 polls.

Friday, the party is to hold elections in Nairobi with its eyes cast on the next General Election as it seeks to fill a vacuum to be left when President Uhuru Kenyatta leaves power.

PNU remained intact when other parties that backed President Kenyatta's re-election were swallowed to form Jubilee Party prior to the 2017 elections.

TWO CAMPS

And following fallout in Jubilee Party that has seen formation of two main camps, one coalescing around President Kenyatta and the other backing Deputy President William Ruto to succeed him, PNU is becoming a darling of many leaders especially from Mt Kenya who now want to be associated with it.

Wednesday, PNU Secretary-General John Okemwa said some 5,800 members are expected to attend the National Delegates Conference (NDC) at Kasarani.

"We have also invited friends of PNU like Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, MP Jeremiah Kioni and Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya who is our former party leader," Mr Okemwa told the Nation on phone.

He said the polls are to be supervised by the Registrar of Political Parties as per political parties tribunal recommendation to help end wrangles in the party.

"We want to do the NDC once and for all and go back and campaign vigorously to bring back the image of PNU under our slogan Kazi iendelee (let work continue)," Mr Okemwa said, adding that the party fully backs President Kenyatta's development agenda.

He added: "The NDC agenda is to have new National Executive Council officials."

The PNU polls come at a time when major parties in the country are on revival plans ahead of 2022 elections.

The campaigns have started early due to high political stakes in 2022 ostensibly because a major political transition--of similar proportions as the one of 2002--is in the offing as the country will be electing a new President.

Herein, according to PNU deputy chairman David Kamau: "... lies the danger of the infestation of poseurs and masters of political chicanery who have perfected the art of hawking political heresies."

PNU has had more than a fair share of court battles ever since Mr Kibaki quit the scene.

However, towards the end of last week, a tiny notice announcing the PNU NDC appeared in the press.

Political observers opine that PNU's upcoming NDC is significant since it is the party of a retired president

Mr Kibaki's final term of office started in turmoil but miraculously ended up handing Kenyans a number of memorable infrastructure.

PNU is further incidentally one of the few political parties that resisted folding up when many others were being swallowed into Jubilee in 2017.

The motivation to absorb smaller parties into Jubilee was occasioned by the threat posed by the sweeping political onslaught staged by the National Super Alliance led by ODM leader, Raila Odinga in the run- up to the 2017 elections.

2022 ELECTIONS

As the country has started witnessing the season of dusting moribund political parties from the shelves ahead of 2022, a Jubilee party official who asked not to be named, said, it is also an opportunity to ask hard questions about political parties role in delivering leadership legacy.

"Is there any clear link between a political leader's legacy and the role of the political party in Kenya. It is highly doubtful that our political consciousness development has matured enough to explore such ideological horizons," he said.

The party is grappling with who should be the right candidate to replace Mr Kibaki as the party leader due to his development legacy.

"If Kenya is to enforce a political party regimen that encourages the growth of political parties, the Registrar of Political Parties should perhaps enforce rules that encourage a totally different approach from what is in place currently," the official said.

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