Upya movement turns into political party

Eldas Mp Adan Keinan, flanked by other northern Kenya leaders, speaks at Sawela Lodge, Naivasha, after a two-day consultative meeting. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Upya movement, that was formed by northern Kenya leaders to champion for interests of the region, will now be a political party.

The leaders who met in Naivasha at the weekend, said they intend to enter into coalitions with other parties ahead of next year's General Election.

The leaders from Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (Asal) further resolved to back President Uhuru Kenyatta's choice of successor.

They also settled on Finance Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani as their spokesman and gave him the go-ahead to engage other political parties.

Addressing the Press after a two-day meeting in Sawela Lodge on Saturday, the group said the drought in parts of the country was ravaging families.

Isiolo Governor Mohammed Kuti revealed that the process of legalising the movement has kicked off.

Kuti said that they would champion the political and social interests of the people.

“We have started the process of legalizing this movement and we have picked CS Yatani as our spokesperson and given him the nod to work with other leaders,” he said.

The governor said that they were keen to have the region benefit from the equalization fund in a bid to address the drought in parts of the region.

“We are happy that the government has proclaimed the ongoing drought as a national disaster and allocated funds to resolve the current situation,” he said.

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani. [File, Standard]

Yatani pledged that they would speak in one voice in a bid to address challenges facing the region.

The CS maintained that they would be at the negotiation table ahead of the next General Election saying that the region had been neglected in decision making.

“We have had fruitful deliberations in this meeting and we are committed to working as one team so as to tackle our problems,” he said.

Garissa Senator Abdikadir Haji said that the Upya movement would speak on behalf of Asal.

“As an umbrella political platform, Upya supports the revitalisation of two to three political parties in the region to guarantee the right of our people to participate in the 2022 General Election,” he said.

The senator challenged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to ensure every eligible citizen in the region registers as a voter despite the on-going drought.

Eldas MP Adan Keinan challenged the government to assist families ravaged by drought.

“Apart from drought we have deliberated on other issues and we shall no longer be flower girls in the coming elections,” he said.