Jubilee leaders give conditions for merger

Mt Kenya leaders address the Press after a meeting on the proposed merger of Jubilee affiliate parties at Chuka University in Tharaka Nithi, yesterday. [PHOTO: PETER MUTHOMI/STANDARD]

Leaders from Mt Kenya East yesterday met in Chuka to discuss their political destiny ahead of a parties merger.

During a meeting attended by three senators, two deputy governors, 14 MPs, and scores of members of county assembly from Meru, Embu and Tharaka counties, the demand for fair nominations dominated the talks co-chaired by Ford-Kenya's Noah Wekesa and Alliance Party of Kenya's Kiraitu Murungi.

The closed-door meeting held at Chuka University was to plan the launch of the Jubilee Party (JP), and was attended by seven Jubilee affiliate parties.

Leaders demanded that the party upholds fair primaries to be truly acceptable in the region.

Among the MPs who called for fair nominations were Rahim Dawood (North Imenti), John Muchiri (Manyatta), David Kareithi (Tigania West), Kareke Mbiuki (Maara) and Muthomi Njuki (Chuka Igamba Ngombe).

Tens of aspirants in the affiliate parties who attended the meeting also called for fair play. They included Republican Party of Kenya's Mwenda Mbijiwe, vying for the Meru governor's seat and United Republican Party's Meru chairman Mithika Mwenda seeking the Igembe Central seat.

At a press conference, Dr Wekesa said JP had seven parties which had agreed to dissolve while two others were expected to commit to the cause in the next two weeks.

Wekesa confirmed that the delegates' main demand was fair nominations. "This party is committed to ensuring that this demand is fulfilled so that it can have a bright and peaceful future devoid of the fractious nature of Kenya's major political parties," he said.

But Wekesa, Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki, Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti and Murungi warned those marking time outside the party and expecting to join at the last minute that they would be locked out.

"We want to warn that once the train leaves the station, it has no breaks and will not stop on the way to pick up late comers," said Wekesa.

Kindiki said JP nominations will be fair to everybody but those who felt the need to leave after losing were free to do so at their own risk.

Mbiuki spoke of the demand for fair primaries, saying it had cost the Party of National Unity votes in 2007 and TNA in 2013.

But it was a no show for all the region's governors with Embu represented by Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi and Tharaka Nithi by Eliud Muriithi.