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Show us coalition contract, Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties demand

DP William Ruto during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally at Manga, Borabu, Nyamira County. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Division is deepening in the Kenya Kwanza coalition after two party leaders from central Kenya asked Deputy President William Ruto to declare what the region stands to gain should he form the next government.

Despite signing a coalition agreement on April 12 this year, Mwangi Kiunjuri of The Service Party and Irungu Nyakera (Farmers Party) claim that Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Party (UDA) has not furnished them with certain crucial details of their deal.

Kiunjuri, who has recently been blowing hot and cold over his commitment to Kenya Kwanza, now says he does not want Mt Kenya voters to ‘blindly’ elect Ruto and Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya candidate Raila Odinga.

He accuses Ruto of withholding details of the coalition agreement that his party submitted to the Registrar of Political Parties.

“Our party has the draft agreement while other affiliates are yet to submit theirs. Up to this time we don’t know what UDA deposited at the Registrar of Political Parties, and this means we don’t know what is in store for Mt Kenya region,” said Kiunjuri.

Mwangi Kiunjuri. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Speaking separately, Nyakera said they are worried because whenever they ask for details of the coalition agreement “we are only told not to worry and that we will be in the next government”.

“A time has come for Ruto and UDA to explain what is there for the region should he form government. We must know the specifics in terms of education and other sectors, which they were to share with us after signing of the agreement,” said Nyakera.

Nyakera, who is eyeing the Murang’a governor seat, appeared to blame President Uhuru Kenyatta when he claimed the Head of State had not guided central Kenya leaders on what was good for the region.

“Uhuru would have embraced all leaders regardless of their political affiliation and guided them on why we should vote for Raila Odinga. In time, the region would not be groping in the dark. But from where I stand, I can tell that we shall cry after the elections,” he said.

In a past interview, UDA Secretary for Legal Affairs Edward Muriu categorically said the party had no power-sharing arrangement with fringe parties.

“We don’t have a coalition agreement with Kabogo (William) and all the other parties. What we have is a cooperation agreement, which is more or less a post-election pact. We only have a coalition agreement with ANC and Ford Kenya,” said Mr Muriu.

The official said partner parties will know what they will get in Ruto’s government based on the number of elective positions.

UDA Secretary for Legal Affairs Edward Muriu. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

“Seats are not important, but what the government will deliver for Mt Kenya region. That is why our priorities are anchored on the economic blueprint which agitates for minimum guaranteed returns on our agricultural produce.”

The discontent is simmering at a time sibling rivalry has taken centerstage in Kenya Kwanza rallies, with the latest incident witnessed in Kiambu where Tujibebe Wakenya Party leader William Kabogo, who is vying for governor, clashed with Senator Kimani Wamatangi, the UDA governor candidate.

Members of Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties have lamented that UDA appears keen to only popularise candidates vying on its ticket at their expense.

Chama Cha Kazi Party leader Moses Kuria criticised coalition officials for allegedly sidelining them, before cynically referring to Kenya Kwanza as UDA Kwanza.

“It is imperative that we live with not only the letter but also the spirit of Kenya Kwanza alliance. Otherwise it will be tantamount to politics of conmanship and deceit,” said Kuria.

The question that observers are asking is whether UDA sought to partner with smaller parties in Mt Kenya, or the affiliate outfits inveigled themselves into the coalition in the hopes of riding to victory on Ruto’s perceived influence in the voter-rich region.

Political analyst Gitile Naituli said lack of unity in Mt Kenya was to blame for the region’s failure to produce a leader with a national stature.