Kenya: Parties Scramble for a Slice of Government Pie

Political bigwigs are scrambling to strike deals with President Uhuru Kenyatta as he dangles positions and development projects.

This comes as the rift in the Jubilee Party between President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto widens.

The latest to publicly declare willingness to work with the Jubilee administration is Kalonzo Musyoka, who was on Friday given the authority by his Wiper party to seek "cooperation".

Talks of a Government of National Unity have been rife since the signing of the post-election deal between Kanu, led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, and Jubilee.

The first fruit of the deal has seen West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio, from Kanu, handed the majority leader position in the Senate.

In a previous interview, Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat said the party was ready to go the extra mile to be even more in government.

"If and when our support is needed, we are ready. If we are needed to serve in any position, we are ready. Our top decision-making organ endorsed this kind of arrangement," he explained.

Mr Musyoka's Wiper also resolved in a meeting held on Friday to follow in the footsteps of Kanu and sign a post-election "cooperation" arrangement with Jubilee.

"The National Executive Council of the Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya, meeting under the leadership of the Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, has today authorised Mr Musyoka to seal a cooperation agreement with Jubilee and Kanu with immediate effect," the party said in a statement.

NO NAYSAYERS

Mr Musyoka, however, maintained that Wiper remains a member of the National Super Alliance (Nasa).

The Sunday Nation has learnt that Mr Musyoka has already submitted to the President his list of those he wants appointed to various positions, including the Cabinet, as talks continue.

The party, our source said, has expressed interest in influential dockets like Treasury and Foreign Affairs

Wiper has also warned its errant members in Parliament that they risk being de-whipped from committees in the looming reorganisation of committees expected in two weeks' time.

National Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui, a close ally of Mr Musyoka, said party members who are not ready to work with the government will not be entertained.

"More consultations are still going on within Wiper to identify those members who can work with the government because that is what our party leader wants," he said.

In the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), sources revealed that talks between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga on the composition of a national unity government have largely been successful.

TRANSPARENCY

The party is eyeing key Cabinet positions and angling to play a major role on the economic front.

Mr Odinga, whose March 2018 Handshake with President Kenyatta shook the political landscape, is reportedly keen to ensure devolution succeeds.

However, ODM Chairman John Mbadi dismissed assertions that the party is eager to join the government.

"We are not interested in forming a government of national unity now. There is no hurry to do that. We have a party and we are the minority in the house. Treat everything you have been reading in the press as rumours," Mr Mbadi told the Sunday Nation.

Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi said this is the best time for a government of national unity to initiate economic recovery.

"The intention of the Handshake was to unite Kenyans, and I trust in the wisdom of President Kenyatta and our party leader Raila Odinga. However, ODM will not demand everything; we believe that everybody must be brought on board," he said.

"Mr Odinga is not a selfish leader and I don't think he will put conditions to Mr Kenyatta."

A fortnight ago, six Cabinet secretaries met six ODM leaders and plans to mitigate the perennial floods in Nyando and Budalang'i, completing stalled road projects and revitalising sugarcane farming in Western Kenya were discussed. Other areas of concern were the Kisumu railway and cotton farming.

In the meeting, Mr Odinga's lieutenants, led by Senator James Orengo, laid out the party's growing grievances to the listening ears of the CSs under orders from their boss.

FLOODS HEADACHE

The meeting came after a coordinated stinging attack on the government in both Houses of Parliament for its lacklustre plan to deal with the floods that have displaced thousands of people in Nyanza.

Among the roads that require to be prioritised are the Muhoroni-Kisumu-Mamboleo road and the Ringroad-Mbita-Sori road up to Nyandiwa in Homa Bay.

On sugarcane farming, the source said President Kenyatta told Mr Odinga that the Cabinet had adopted a proposal that the struggling public millers in the region be leased instead of going the privatisation route.

The operations of the millers in the region, which include Muhoroni, Chemelil, Miwani and Sony, have ground to a halt due to cane shortage, compounded by various managerial and financial problems.

Chama Cha Mashinani, led by former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, is also angling to get into government. The party has expressed interest in signing a deal with Jubilee.

In an interview with the Sunday Nation, Mr Ruto said the engagement of his party with Jubilee is not about sharing positions but addressing the socio-economic issues affecting the country for the benefit of all.

Asked whether he is eyeing a position in the Cabinet, Mr Ruto said that bit was yet to be discussed

"It is an issue that we have not discussed. We have not reached that level, but you cannot stop people from speculating. Moving forward, you will hear more stories out there, but we will remain focused on our agenda to unite the country," he said.

He added: "It has to be understood that despite the coalition politics, one person - the President - was mandated to run the country. Reorganisation of government is his prerogative as the buck stops with him at the end of the day."

More From: Nation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.