Fresh row rocks PNU as Jubilee merger beckons
By Wainaina Ndung'u and Job Weru
| August 21st 2016
A fresh controversy dogs Party of National Unity (PNU) over who the real party officials are, even as its leaders engage in a push and pull over whether it should fold up and join the Jubilee Party.
PNU wrote a letter on November 25, 2015, signed by Jeremiah Kioni as the party leader, to the Registrar of Political Parties that it would not dissolve or merge with any political party. The letter, which The Standard on Sunday has, reads, “PNU will not dissolve or merge with any other political outfit. PNU will remain a distinct political entity, having benefited from political party funding during the 10th parliament.”
The letter was also signed by party Secretary General John Anunda and Chairman John Kamama and it notes that any individual member “can exercise their constitutional right of freedom of constitution”.
“Only the current officials of the party can commit the party. PNU will negotiate and enter into a coalition or affiliation with like-minded parties when the time is right,” the letter reads.
Meru Governor Peter Munya, who now wants to be the party leader, Kioni and Anunda, met in Nairobi last week and revisited the letter, declaring that PNU will not join Jubilee.
However, Kamama, who insists the party must join the yet to be launched JP, says Kioni is not the party leader and cannot hold any meeting on behalf of the party. He said Kioni and former Industrialisation Assistant Minister Nderitu Mureithi were removed from the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) by the Political Parties Tribunal on July 21.
Kamama dismissed last week’s meeting, saying Munya is not even a PNU member.
“How do you attend another party’s NEC meeting while you are not even a member? We can simply say Munya called the informal meeting to buy the others lunch, but the decision they made cannot impact on the party,” he said.
Munya, however, says he is content with having picked PNU as his next political destination. Despite the chaos that has rocked the party since he announced he would seek the party’s leader position. He said he was confident that Kamama was a lone ranger who posed no threats to his takeover of PNU.
“It cannot be that one person can hold the rest of the party at ransom as if he owns it. We are confident that he is alone and no matter who is using him, he is not backed by the law or members,” said Munya.
He said according to the party constitution, a motion to dissolve PNU must originate from the NEC and then be approved by the National Delegates Convention, which is scheduled for September 9.
“He should be showing you the NEC resolution that approved the dissolution and merger into Jubilee,” said Munya.
Anunda supported Munya, saying that of the nine NEC members presently in office, Kamama was on his own.
Mureithi and Kioni termed Kamama as misplaced and a political conman. “What happened for him to change stance and sell out the party?” asked Mureithi. He urged Kamama to maintain integrity and live to the party ideals.
“We cannot just allow a person to come in and start making unwarranted declarations on behalf of the party,” said Mureithi.
Kioni urged State House to be careful of political “conmen” out to sell their own interests.
“The letter speaks for itself and it is important that everyone remains awake. PNU formed the last government and we have structures and investments,” said Kioni.
Another showdown looms, as Kioni said they resolved the party will hold its National Delegates Convention on September 9, the same day President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto will be launching JP.
“We have already booked Bomas of Kenya and we gave a notice of the meeting, venue and time. Anyone else claiming they will hold their meeting there should reconsider their decision,” he said.
It is alleged that the JP meeting will also be held at the Bomas of Kenya, creating confusion over who has the stake over the venue.
It also occurred that although the party constitution allows 28 PNU NEC members, only nine are in office.
Besides Anunda and Kamama, others include John Rukaria (Acting Executive Officer), Salesio Mutea, Yuda M’Imunya (Deputy Secretary General) and Peter Kaberia.
Munya said, “The fact that Kamama can never get a NEC resolution means that we shall annihilate his claims if we go to court and because we know he is being used, we are prepared for that route.”
Asked whether he was worried about the dispute turning out to be long-drawn and wasting his precious time less than an year to the elections, the Council of Governors chairman said they had looked at all the dangers and PNU still remained the best option.
“Our saving grace is that the secretary general is not only a key determinant in the nominating process of PNU candidates, but is also the custodian of party instruments. Were Kamama in that position, then we would have reasons to worry, but he is just an acting chairman,” he said.
Munya has presently forged good working relations with Anunda, who is a constant figure in the governor’s meetings in Meru.
Kamama said he was not invited to the Monday meeting, adding the individuals are trying to call back defectors so they can raise a quorum.
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