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Kiraitu tells Uhuru to work with his party or risk defeat

By FRANCIS NGIGE AND JOSEPH MUCHIRI
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential bid continues to create political fault lines among Members of Parliament and his followers in Mount Kenya region.

Although he strongly dismisses claims he was being pushed to team up with fellow DPM Musalia Mudavadi and even be his running mate, some MPs insist that this, indeed, is the case.

Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi’s warning Monday that Uhuru can only ignore the Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) at his own peril further complicates matters.

Kiraitu was blunt Uhuru should drop the TNA tag while visiting the Mount Kenya East region if the party was to receive and support him.

He revealed APK has many members from the Mount Kenya region without a presidential candidate to support except Uhuru, but frowned at the way his The National Alliance was looking down upon other political parties. He conceded this was what was making these potential Uhuru back-up parties hesitate to support him. 

Seek votes
He said people should distinguish between resistance for TNA and Uhuru as a presidential aspirant, adding that his party will not resist Uhuru on condition that he comes to the region as an individual. “APK members have no problem with Uhuru visiting the region as he has the freedom of movement and the freedom of any candidate to seek votes in whichever way possible,’’ said Kiraitu.

“But should he come riding on the TNA wagon he should not expect APK, DP and other parties to be out on the road laying branches to welcome him,” he went on.

He insisted in case Uhuru declines to abide by their wishes, they will allow him to visit the region, but their members will not be anywhere near his caravan.

“When as APK we need Uhuru we will call him and call people to receive him. He has a choice to decide as a politician which is the best way for him in the Mount Kenya region,” said Kiraitu. 

Speaking to journalists in Embu town, the minister predicted the next General Election will be a unique one requiring a lot of compromises and sacrifices to be made and would also call for a game of friendships.

Meanwhile, Uhuru is furious with two MPs from Central Kenya for allegedly “consistently misleading his followers”. He took issue with Assistant minister Ndiritu Muriithi and Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni for spreading “blatant lies” that TNA is set to join Mudavadi’s UDF.

Rebuking Muriithi and Kioni, Uhuru said in a statement released by his spokesman, Mr Munyori Buku, that the two had been issuing false statements about TNA.

“In the recent weeks, Muriithi and Kioni have had this fixation, and falsely so, that TNA will give way to UDF and that they are joined at the hip,” Buku said in the statement.

Hunting with dogs
The statement added: “These are blatant lies! No such thing exists. The two are not in TNA and therefore are not qualified to speak for Uhuru. They should stop pretending they can (speak on behalf of Uhuru)”.

He said the two MPs, who have been working with Mudavadi, had already made a choice to support UDF. “They must stop running with the hare and hunting with the dogs. They made their choice to be in UDF, so what is difficult in sticking to their UDF,” Uhuru asked through Buku.

Monday, in a brief comment, Muriithi said he could not speak on UDF “since there is a difference between an individual and the party”.

“I don’t wish to respond further on a statement I have not seen,” the Laikipia West MP told The Standard on the telephone.

In Embu, Kiraitu however said there was no doubt that Uhuru is the most popular candidate in the region and consequently many people in APK were supporting his bid for the presidency.

He argued the common perception that there was a stand off between APK and TNA arises from the way the latter was introduced and its attempts to sideline APK and other parties in the region. “Tension arises in the way TNA attempts to own Uhuru to the exclusion of all other political parties in the region,” said Kiraitu.

He noted that President Kibaki won in 2002 because of the cooperation between various parties and ethnic groups that voted for him en masse.

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