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NEP leaders unveil outfit, back President Uhuru

By Moses Nyamori and Jacob Ng'etich | September 3rd 2021


Finance CS Ukur Yattani leads other Arid and Semi-Arid areas in addressing the media in Nairobi on September 02,2021 over their resolve to support Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto from the pastoralist communities have clashed over succession politics.

The camp supporting President Kenyatta yesterday unveiled Upya Movement to rally voters from the arid and semi-arid lands (Asal) to back his game plan for next year's elections.

The movement brings together the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani, Jubilee Coalition Joint Secretary and Eldas MP Adan Keynan, governors Ali Korane (Garissa), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo), Ahmed Ali Muktar (Wajir) and a host of MPs.

Yesterday, the leaders declared support for the president, ODM leader Raila Odinga and the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) that comprises Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya.

But Garissa Township MP Aden Duale dismissed the new formation, saying the pastoralists communities were facing drought, food and water shortage as well as insecurity that need urgent intervention.

He questioned why Mr Yattani was engaging in politics at the expense of service delivery. “What we want is the National Government to help the pastoralists and people of Northern Kenya in particular to fast track release of the Equalisation funds and those appropriated by Parliament for drought emergency,” he said.

Addressing a press conference after their meeting at Serena Hotel, Nairobi, the Yattani-led group declared that Upya Movement will present interests of the community on the negotiation table.

“We have agreed to take ourselves seriously for the benefit of our people. We support President Uhuru Kenyatta and the political direction he will give us,” said the CS.

Keynan said the region had decided to forge a united front to ensure their interests are taken care of.

“We are in the season of politics and you are aware of the different camps. In the past we have been flower girls and boys but we have decided to lean towards the initiative of Uhuru and Raila as well OKA,” he said.

“These are the brains from the Asal community. We represent over 90 per cent of the Asal team.”

But sources in the meeting disclosed there was a split among the leaders on who should lead the movement.

One faction is pushing for Keynan while the other wants Yattani. Isiolo Woman Rep Fatuma Dullo declared the CS the leader of new formation.

But some leaders said they were yet to settle on who to lead the region.

Political seniority and clan influence will be key in picking the team’s spokesperson. “We did not make any resolution on who to be on the negotiation table for us. It is something that we will do after robust consultations and can only be by seniority and political influence,” said an MP.

The leaders said the formation will be grassroots-oriented and will consider residents' views.

“Upya Movement will unite residents from Asal areas to articulate a common political position and objectives for the 2022 elections, and more specifically negotiate for greater socio-economic investment and development in the region,” said a statement read by Garissa Senator Abdul Haji.

They welcomed like-minded leaders to join the formation irrespective of their party affiliation.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba skipped the meeting, with his Chief of Staff David Ohito saying he was engaged in an emergency response to avail water to drought hit areas.

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