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Major defections to Jubilee Party begin

By Moses Nyamori and Daniel Psirmoi | Sep 9th 2016 | 4 min read
Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka and Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa are ushered into Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, the venue of the dissolution of New Ford Kenya party in readiness to join Jubilee Party. (Photo: Elvis Ogina/Standard)

Thousands of delegates will converge at Kasarani today (Friday) to ratify the merger of 11 parties into Jubilee Party.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, will next year seek re-election through the party, which will be officially launched Saturday.

Thursday, each of the 11 parties affiliated to the ruling coalition held speedy and choreographed national delegates conference to approve a resolution to support the merger, which effectively paved the way for their dissolution.

The parties were then required to deposit agreements with the Registrar of Political Parties confirming that their relevant organs had ratified the decision.

"The parties merging will first deposit the dissolution agreement. On the day of the merger, they will sign a merger agreement to join the Jubilee Party," Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung'u explained.

The parties will be dissolved by operation of law once the merger instruments are received and approved by the registrar.

Today, Mr Ruto is expected to address the delegates in setting the stage for the keynote speech by President Kenyatta Saturday who will also name the 77-member National Executive Committee that will lead the party.

The parties that resolved to close shop at Kasarani Thursday were The National Alliance (TNA), United Republican Party (URP), Grand National Unity (GNU), TIP TIP and Ford People.

At Bomas, delegates voted to wind up United Democratic Front (UDF), Alliance Party of Kenya (APK), New Ford Kenya (NFK), Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP), Republican Congress Party of Kenya (RC) and Unity Party of Kenya (UPK).

There was confusion about the fate of PNU when some people claiming to be party delegates jammed Kasarani last evening for their NDC. But other officials dismissed the group as impostors.

And the Jubilee coalition will hope that their party won't be spoilt today when the Political Parties Tribunal is expected to listen to a petition that has implications on the new outfit.

Kanu has moved to the tribunal seeking orders to restrain Jubilee Party from using colours the independence party .has identified with for decades.

Through Secretary General Nick Salat, Kanu argues that it has been using red, green and black colours since its registration in 1963. Jubilee Party has branded using red, black and yellow.

And the ruling coalition with claims that it expects 40 CORD leaders to cross over this weekend, Thursday began receiving Opposition defectors.

Turkana Senator John Munyes, who was Ford Kenya's national chairman, Turkana East MP Nicholas Ngikor (the party's county chairman) as well as Loima MP Protus Akuja (ODM) announced their defection during New Ford-Kenya's delegates meeting.

Sirisia MP John Waluke (ODM) also attended the New Ford Kenya meeting. ODM MPs Stephen Kariuki (Mathare), Samuel Arama (Nakuru) and Isaac Mwaura (nominated) also attended the TNA meeting at Kasarani.

The two venues for the meetings (Kasarani and Bomas of Kenya) were Thursday a mosaic of colours, as delegates trooped in donning attires reflecting party colours.

bomas delegates

First to arrive at Bomas were majorly delegates of Ruto's URP, carrying yellow pennants bearing the party's "Kusema na Kutenda" slogan and donning the party's yellow t-shirts and caps.

Led by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Deputy Majority Leader in the Senate, Kipchumba Murkomen, the leaders said they were on a path to uniting the country by folding regional political outfits that only "promoted tribalism and election-instigated clashes".

"It is better to be a small fish in a big ocean than a big fish in a small pond," said Mr Murkomen.

Members of Jubilee Alliance Party that is being renamed Jubilee Party, stepped out in red T-shirts where they endorsed the merger in slightly over an hour.

Delegates from UDF also quickly concluded the day's agenda after party leader, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, nominated MP Hassan Osman, the party chairman and nominated Senator Martha Wangari read impatience of members.

New Ford Kenya's delegates, in blue T-shirts, were led by party boss Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka and former party leader, Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro and over 10 MPs were present.

The Republican Congress Party of Kenya was equally folded up in a huff, with former party leader and now Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, who was the chief guest, giving a keynote address.

"Jubilee Party will transform Kenya and bring to an end the era of tribal outfits in the name of political parties. It will be a party of ideology not of parochial bickering," said Mr Balala.

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