Kenya: Questions Emerge Over Forces Behind New Political Party CYMK

Questions have emerged over the forces behind new political party Chama Ya Mapatano Kenya (CYMK), launched in Nairobi on Thursday by a close ally of Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi.

The party was launched at the Jacaranda Hotel on Thursday by former Kanu women congress leader Damaris Cherono Too, who left the independence party in September last year.

The law requires one to resign from one party if you have to join another one.

Even though Ms Too insisted the party was her initiative, sources told the Nation there could be more than meets the eye, and this could just be another ploy by Mr Moi's camp to form one larger identity to accommodate 'Handshake' politicians.

Mr Moi has of late displayed a political dalliance with ODM leader Raila Odinga and his Kanu party already entered into a post-election agreement with president Kenyatta's ruling Jubilee.

"In the Kenyan political space, trust politicians and party leaders at your own peril," political analyst Dismas Mokua said yesterday.

Having a political party, he holds, "admits you to the table of political negotiations and immunises you from the vagaries of flawed party primaries and party discipline."

Main rival

Flanked by the party's Secretary General Oscar Koech and National chairman Kenneth Wambu, Ms Too said her party supports unity of the country through President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga's spirit of the 'Handshake' - referring to the truce between the President and his main rival in 2018.

"When we say mapatano, we mean inclusivity for all. We, therefore, urge the President and his partners to involve each and every Kenyan in this process and everyone is on board," said Ms Too.

The officials also denied being proxies for established politicians, insisting the party seeks to ensure the position of women in leadership is safeguarded.

Ms Too said CYMK will be the political entity at the forefront of fighting for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and inclusivity for every Kenyan citizen.

She revealed that the party will advocate the women agenda and space in leadership and push for the realisation of two thirds gender rule in the country.

Gender parity

"Gender parity is now a global necessity, it's time for women to claim their space in positions of leadership in this country," she declared.

The party leader noted that the new kid on the block is a social democratic and economic emancipation association, which brings together innovative, fearless, workers, NGOs, community-based organisations, and lobby groups under the need to pursue the struggle for economic inclusivity and equality among Kenyans.

CYMK, she noted, is founded upon the values of human dignity, the achievement of equality, the advancement of human rights and freedoms and is hinged on the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.

"Mapatano, as the name suggests, is the coming together, particularly of equal-minded people who want to do a different kind of politics -- politics of accountability," added Ms Too.

Politics, she noted, is not the preserve of the most financially endowed, "not the most elite of our society, and not the preserve of men."

Even though she noted that she will not be gunning for the country's top seat, Ms Too pointed out that the party will back a candidate whose agenda is aligned with theirs.

"In regards to a future coalition, we shall identify and work with other like-minded individuals including the government in ensuring services are delivered to the people," added the party boss.

Due process

Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu told the Nation that the officials had followed due process to register the new political outfit.

"It has since been provisionally registered," said Ms Nderitu.

The registration of the party now brings to a total of 96 political parties in the country - 85 fully registered and 11 operating with provisional certificates.

Mr Mokua pointed out that the Kenyan political space is full of parties that are short on ideology.

"That is why we have parties being created by the day as we approach the 2022 General Election. It is, therefore, unusual to have supporters and sycophants of leading political personalities registering political parties for their masters. It is the case that any political personality with political capital has a political party," he said.

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