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Ruto's UDA seeks to clean house ahead of elections

 UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala (left) with President William Ruto when they opened the party's offices in Nyeri County. [PCS]

The turmoil and power struggles within UDA have prompted President William Ruto to call for a National Governing Council (NGC) meeting.

Faced with internal discord and unrelenting opposition that threaten its stability, the ruling party is seeking to put its house in order ahead of the December 5 grassroots elections.

An invitation letter sent to members, who comprise the National Executive Committee, MPs, governors, senators and MCAs, says the agenda is President Ruto’s keynote address and the elections.

The first NGC meeting, scheduled to take place at the Bomas of Kenya next Friday, is crucial in addressing the challenges facing the party and the unyielding opposition.

The elections might see party leaders holding interim positions replaced.

The party has been conducting grassroots recruitment to consolidate its national support.

However, a year into the Kenya Kwanza administration, internal discord has grown with leaders such as Senate Majority Whip Boni Khalwale calling for the removal of key government officials, including Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria and his Energy counterpart Davis Chirchir, along with the President’s chief economic adviser, David Ndii.

This came following controversial statements made by Kuria and Ndii regarding fuel prices, with the CS suggesting that dissatisfied Kenyans should drill their own oil wells.

Two weeks ago, UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala told Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula and former Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi to fold their parties and join the President’s outfit.

But supporters of the National Assembly Speaker and the Prime Cabinet Secetary denounced the proposal as “rash and careless.”

“Those who joined us recently like Mr Malala have much to do to prove themselves as legitimate UDA members. This is why he is keen on telling his former party ANC to fold, but he should let Ford-Kenya be and concentrate on ANC if that will win him legitimacy and trust among UDA members,” said Dr Khalwale.

Efforts to steady the ruling party have now forced President Ruto to step in. To address the escalating internal conflicts, Ruto held a six-hour meeting at the UDA headquarters in Nairobi a week ago.

He addressed the power struggles within the party and expressed concerns about alleged attempts to delay the elections.

Sources who attended the meeting revealed that the President warned party officials that their positions were not guaranteed, emphasizing that the interim leadership should not be viewed as permanent.

The President’s latest involvement in party affairs can be traced back to the intense push for the passage of the Finance Act 2023. During that crucial debate, he met MPs at the State House, where he urged them to support the Bill while indirectly threatening those opposed to the proposals.

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