Uhuru, Raila beat Ruto in fight for coalition parties

Several proposed amendments are still pending before the Committee of the Whole House. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga's troops in the National Assembly voted for formation of a coalition party in a major win for Azimio La Umoja movement.

The camp marshalled 155 MPs to approve Clause 6 of the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021 against opposition of 127 lawmakers drawn from Deputy President William Ruto’s camp.

The win in a late night vote paves the way – subject to final passage of the Bill – for the formation of a Narc-like political party to propel Raila to the presidency.

The clause has been the source of the political acrimony around the Bill. DP’s camp claims this is a scheme to create regional parties that could end up zoning the country.

Earlier, allies of the Handshake duo shot down a proposed amendment by Kandara MP Alice Wahome. A total of 158 MPs against 134 voted to defeat the amendment that sought to delete the clause.

She argued that the clause was unconstitutional and should be expunged.

“You cannot come up with new terminology to legislate what is not in the Constitution. Coming up with coalition political party offends the Constitution,” said Wahome.

Several proposed amendments are still pending before the Committee of the Whole House that goes through clause by clause for either approval or rejection.

The clause provides for, among other things, the procedure to be followed for registration of a coalition party.

The clause also provides that a member of a coalition shall not be a member of another.

It exempts a coalition political party from the provisions of section 5 and 6 of the Act. Section 5 deals with provisional registration of a political party while section 6 deals with application for provisional registration.

Uhuru and Raila seek to create a monolithic Narc-like party for next year's elections.

The grand plan is to have provisions that will allow political parties to field candidates jointly across the country under the newly unveiled movement.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga seek to create a monolithic party for next year's elections. [File, Standard]

The aim is to prevent self-cannibalisation of parties and candidates supporting the Azimio movement, through which Raila is expected to vie for the presidency.

The Standard has learnt that Uhuru and Raila have lined up at least 10 political parties in crafting the Azimio La Umoja Movement – a coalition of like-minded political parties that seek to propel the latter to State House.

Some of the outfits set to be part of the movement launched by Raila at a political extravaganza at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani, Nairobi, on December 10, are Jubilee, ODM, the newly formed Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) associated with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Upya Movement linked to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

Others are Maendeleo Chap Chap of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Party of National Unity (PNU), Ubuntu People’s Forum linked to Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Narc of Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Kenya Union Party (KUP) of Governor John Lonyangapuo.

Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju said the idea is to come up with a coalition that will bring Kenyans together.

He described the new formation as an “alliance of the willing”.

“It has to be an alliance of the willing. The vision is to bring all Kenyans together irrespective of their political parties. The all idea is to craft an all-inclusive formation,” said Tuju.

On Wednesday, a special sitting to consider the Bill went late into the night, spilling over to Thursday at about 1.40am.

The DP-allied MPs walked out a few minutes past midnight after forcing a division on Clause 7. The clause seeks to  amend Section 8 of the parent Act, to include slogan of the party as one of the factors to be considered when registering a political party.

It further gives the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties more powers to decline registration of a party if the name or slogan, abbreviation or symbol is associated with a proscribed group or association.

A total of 142 MPs in Uhuru, Raila camp voted for the amendments against15 members from Ruto side who opposed the inclusion of the amendment.