TNA leaders meet today amid divisions on use of party funds

TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja (centre), secretary general Onyango Oloo (left) Lamu Senator Abu Chiaba at a past press briefing.  [PHOTO: WILBERFORCE OKWIRI/STANDARD]
             TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja (centre), secretary general Onyango Oloo (left) Lamu Senator Abu Chiaba at a past press briefing.  [PHOTO: WILBERFORCE OKWIRI/STANDARD]
By MWANIKI MUNUHE

Nairobi, Kenya: The political heat within President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party The National Alliance (TNA) continues to rise with revelations that some MPs are pushing for a joint secretariat with the United Republican Party (URP) to manage the funds allocated to the two coalition partners from the political parties fund.

Even as controversial party meeting kicks off today in Naivasha, which sections of MPs have threatened to boycott, it is emerging that differences in the party are so deep that its unity could be hanging on a thread.

A group of MPs led by party chairman Johnson Sakaja are expected to commence the Naivasha retreat even as it emerged that another group will not only be pushing for the overhaul of the party officials, but will also demand that no more money should be released to the party until a joint secretariat is in place.

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“We are pushing in line with President Kenyatta’s thinking for a joint secretariat with URP because TNA is full of dishonest people. The allegations that MPs are interested in the money from the political parties fund are laughable. What is Sh88 million to 88 MPs? It’s an equivalent to an MP’s one month’s pay. What they should and must understand is that there is no money for TNA or URP, all we have is money for the coalition. We will be holding a joint meeting with URP MPs to firm this up very soon. Otherwise we will not let the party be managed by extremely dishonest people,” said Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa.

Ichung’wa said he was one of the “many MPs unhappy with the party’s leadership” and who will also skip the meeting although he said he had been invited and had even confirmed attendance.

Apparently, TNA had invited less than 10 MPs, five senators and a group of county assembly members to the retreat.

Those who have been invited include MPs Kabando wa Kabando, Sakaja, Joel Onyancha and senators Kimani Wa Matangi and nominated senator Naisula Lesuuda.

Yesterday, Ichung’wa described as “dishonest” allegations by TNA Executive Director Charles Mathai that nobody invited him (Ichung’wa) to the meeting.

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Text messages

Ichung’wa forwarded to The Standard on Saturday a text message which he said was sent to him by TNA’s Secretary General Onyango Oloo informing him that he had been invited to the meeting.

The message reads: “TNA has scheduled Strategic plan discussion between 21st and 23rd February 2014 at the Great Rift Valley – Naivasha. You are invited as one of the contributors. Kindly confirm availability before Tuesday 18th February 2014 to enable us make reservations. SG Onyango Oloo.”

Mathai maintained that TNA invited less that 10 MPs and that Ichung’wa was not among them.

“Does Ichung’wa even know where the party headquarters are? We did not invite him. At least Kanini Kega has visited the party headquarters and he engages with us and we engage with him. We are inviting Mr Ichung’wa to visit the party head office so that he can equally get an idea of what goes on in the party,” said Mathai.

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Ichung’wa responded saying: “They are simply reacting to what Sakuda and Kanini Kega started.  They are even now claiming that they had not invited me to that meeting yet I have text messages which they sent inviting me to attend. It is this dishonesty we are fighting within the party.”

He added: “Some people cannot be entrusted with simple things like phone messages that have readily available records … Will you trust the same people to restructure a national party? I do not have time to engage with people who are suffering from hangovers of the past. They should know that they will not intimidate any parliamentarian or any member of the party.”

Mathai said the meeting at Naivasha today brings together a working group converging to look at a technical document prepared by experts on a four-year strategic plan.

“Strategic plans are academic documents until they are considered by all party organs including the PG (parliamentary Group) who then bring life to the plan so that implementation can commence. We will be tabling this document before the party organs as soon as possible. The document contains party programmes complete with budgets and timelines,” said Mathai

But sections of MPs have dismissed the meeting as one that has been convened by a few people to cover up their failure to manage the party.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta The National Alliance TNA party funds