Mistrust threatens to derail ANC and Ford-K merger plan

Amani Coalition leader Musalia Mudavadi addressing members of the Bunge la Mwananchi in Kisumu town on May 11th 2018. (Collins Oduor, Standard)
Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya merger is facing crosswinds after MPs grew cold feet.

Opposition to the merger played out on Friday when MPs skipped separate party meetings called to review the report of the joint committee on the merger in Naivasha and Kisumu.

In Kisumu, the meeting by ANC attended by one MP did not take off. But party leader Musalia Mudavadi put up a brave face, exuding confidence that the merger was on course. “Reality on the ground requires that political entities must review their health and formations from time to time,” he said.

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula also sought to assure members that all was well and the merger would possibly come to fruition next year. “The decisions will have to go through all the organs of the two parties,” said Wetangula. However, the Bungoma Senator did not explain why his party did not ratify the report of the merger committee.

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The retreat for Ford Kenya that was supposed to start on Friday morning was called off at the last minute and scheduled for a later date.

The National Executive Council and parliamentary groups of ANC and Ford Kenya were meant to adopt the reports of the joint committee.

But Sunday Standard has learned that supremacy wars between Wetang’ula and Mudavadi supporters on who becomes the leader of the new party and who will be the presidential candidate are likely to derail the merger.

Although the joint committee led by Ford Kenya Secretary General and Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu is mandated to look into issues around the merger, the big question is, which design will it take?

Daunting task

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“Will they merge into a new party? Will they merge into either of the two parties? Creating a new party will be a gigantic task - this was a complex issue even for Jubilee Party during their merger process. These are the questions we are asking,” said Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala.

Mr Malala wondered who will become the party leader and deputy and termed the planned merger a political gimmick that was amateurish and lacking in focus and road map.

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi and ANC Secretary Seneral dismissed the merger plan saying it is not grounded on strong ideology.

“I will be the first person to support the merger if it is truly influenced by a long-term vision, common objective and a shared ideological basis. Everyone knows the decision is influenced by anger following the aftermath of Raila Odinga’s swearing-in that the two leaders gave a wide berth,” he said.  

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Amani National CongressANCFord KenyaMusalia MudavadiRaila Odinga