By Moses Njagih
After hammering a deal to support Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta in the elections, leaders of major political parties with strong presence in Mt Kenya region are now faced with the tricky subject of joint parliamentary nominations.
The party leaders are in talks to cobble up an alliance that would see them hold joint nominations to improve their chances of having the numbers that would help their man have powers to control Parliament in case he wins.
The need to ensure command of numbers in the houses – Senate and National Assembly – has especially been necessitated by the debacle after the last elections. It was hard for PNU to convince the world that its presidential candidate Mwai Kibaki had won the elections by having fewer elected MPs compared to his opponent Raila Odinga.
Kibaki loyalists have been arguing their candidate won the majority vote, but failed to command Parliament since they lost seats after fielding many candidates.
“We lacked a common strategy since those who took part in PNU nominations and lost opted for other parties. In the end, the electorate who supported Kibaki was divided among the many candidates, giving ODM an edge over us,” says Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi.
In rooting for the region to face the elections, even at a parliamentary level, on the same front, Uhuru has been using the 2007 elections as an example.
“That is where our problems emanated. We faced the polls divided with the only common position being our support for Kibaki. The rest of us retreated to our parties. This way we sacrificed seats that are even in our strongholds to our opponents,” says Uhuru.
It is a repeat of this that the leaders are trying to avoid in their new scheme to dodge a situation where their candidate ends up winning the elections but without convincing numbers to push Government agenda in Parliament.
“It is crucial that even as we campaign for our candidate, we ensure we work out a plan where he will have sufficient numbers to take control of the House, or risk a repeat of what happened,” said Mathira MP Ephraim Maina, chairman of the Mt Kenya MPs’ Forum.
But the plan for joint nomination among aspirants eyeing the polls on Uhuru’s TNA, Kiraitu’s APK, GNU and DP, who have agreed to support the DPM’s candidature, already looks in jeopardy with strong forces within the region opposed to the idea.