By Mwaniki Munuhe
The race to marshal support ahead of talks over a G7 Alliance pre-election deal is heating up, as the vehicle to deliver the deal nears completion.
However, some of the key movers in the informal alliance are not quite ready for any kind of deal making. At the moment, their only comfort comes from the fact that a week is a long time in politics and the three months left before a deal has to be sealed and delivered is enough to turn things round.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is clearly in need of the time, with his tentative effort to herd his allies into position unraveling before his eyes. His party, The National Alliance (TNA), faces competition from allied parties in Monday by-elections and outright rebellion over its 2013 strategy. At least four parties have threatened to deny Uhuru their endorsement of his presidential bid. The Party of National Unity, Grand National Unity, Democratic Party of Kenya, and the Alliance Party of Kenya are unhappy with what they describe as TNA’s “arrogance” in dealing with them. Former Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagua, a key member of GNU, says the party might even back another presidential candidate.
“There are so many presidential candidates who want and appreciate support,” Gachagua says.
“We can work with such candidates. As GNU, our position is clear: A party is just a political vehicle. We have fielded candidates and they will be voted in (on merit), not because of their attachment with some individuals. Tell people what you can do for them to earn their votes. Don’t tell us to vote for you because you have an attachment with this and that person.”
Party of National Unity chairman Gideon Konchellah has the same frustrations.
“I don’t know why TNA has chosen to be arrogant,” the Kilgoris MP says. “We are not at the mercy of anybody here, because PNU is a big party with national appeal. It is not a small party like TNA.”
PNU’s Maina Kamanda says the party is uncomfortable with the pressure from TNA to fold up and fall in line.
“I have never heard of a presidential candidate, who tells people willing to help him achieve his political objectives that he will not work with them,” he says.
“I have heard this in Kenya for the first time. There are many other candidates interested in our votes. We can work with them.”
However, TNA held its ground saying it could not adopt a flawed electoral strategy just to accommodate other parties that cannot decide whether to compete or co-operate.