|Gichugu MP Martha Karua meets DPM Uhuru Kenyatta, Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa and MP Elias Mbau in Kawangware. [Photo: Collins Kweyu/Standard]|
By Stephen Makabila
With the General Election just seven months away, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Wamalwa are reported to be finalising a pre-election agreement. The Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister are also preparing to remember political forebears with two memorial services running back to back in the fourth week of the month.
An announcement of their plan to run on a joint presidential ticket could be made as early as August 23 this year, three months to the statutory deadline for depositing pre-election coalition agreements with the electoral commission.
This arrangement would confirm a secret pledge Uhuru made in May, on the day he launched The National Alliance, at a meeting exclusively covered by The Standard On Sunday. The Saboti MP’s star role during the TNA launch earlier that day signalled a political pact as did Uhuru’s promise to work exclusively with Wamalwa as the ‘pointman’ in Western Kenya.
August 23 is the ninth anniversary of the death of Eugene’s brother, former Vice-President Michael Kijana Wamalwa. Uhuru, Eugene and Eldoret North MP William Ruto are expected at a memorial service in Kitale. The day before, August 22, will be the 34th anniversary of the death of Uhuru’s father, Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta. A memorial service, traditionally graced by the sitting president, will be held in Nairobi. Reliable sources say President Kibaki is also keen to attend the memorial service of his first VP in the Narc Administration before he retires from office next year. He could, thus, find himself witness to a significant political announcement.
On Saturday, Wamalwa told The Standard of a “major political statement” expected at either or both of the two memorials. However, the Saboti MP has previously promised major announcements that did not materialise. “Politically speaking, we are entering the home-stretch for the coming General Election,” Wamalwa said. “The two memorials have serious political significance and serious political statements could be made.”
Uhuru and his allies, however, declined to either confirm or deny any anticipated political declarations. His spokesman was non-committal on what activities they were planning for the two days in question.
“It is a fact that August 22 is the memorial (sic) of founding president Jomo Kenyatta and August 23 that of former Vice President Wamalwa Kijana,” said spokesman Munyori Buku. On the Saturday and Sunday prior to the events, Wamalwa will make pre-campaign stops in Thika and Nyeri, two areas where Uhuru enjoys strong support. The president’s son, Jimmy Kibaki, will host him on a tour of the latter region. On Saturday the Saboti MP joined Uhuru and other leaders in Dagoretti at a thanksgiving ceremony for Public Health minister Beth Mugo, who is celebrating the remission of her successfully treated breast cancer.
The Standard also established Jimmy and Wamalwa met at Palacina Hotel in Nairobi on Friday night. Details of the talks were not clear but the list of attendees seemed to confirm earlier reports about palace wars at State House over the candidacies of Uhuru and Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi. Jimmy and his sister Judy Kibaki reportedly want to back Uhuru for high office. Some State House operatives, however, are said to either favour Mudavadi or Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
However, the Saboti MP and Jimmy have a political history so it is likely their meeting had nothing to do with the palace wars. Jimmy was the patron of Simama-Kenya, a lobby group that teamed up with a section of Ford-Kenya in 2010 to spearhead a so-called ‘Third Force’ touting Eugene as a possible presidential candidate.
The initiative faded away as quickly as it had been conceived, but not before Wamalwa had made clear President Kibaki owed his late brother a political debt he was ready to call in.