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ELECTION 2022

Ford-Kenya endorses Wetang’ula for president as rivals oppose bid

POLITICS
By Judah Ben Huh and Grace Ng'ang'a | Nov 5th 2021 | 4 min read

 

From left to right: Ford Kenya Leader Moses Wetangula, Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi, Wiper Kalonzo Musyoka Clepas Malala and Former Speaker, Maalim Mohammed and the Partys Deputy Leader, Millicent Abudho,at Bomas of Kenya during delegates conference on Thursday, November 4, 2021. [Samson Wire, Standard].

The Ford Kenya party National Delegates Conference (NDC) yesterday settled on Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula as the party leader and flag bearer in the 2022 polls amid wrangles that have split the party into two factions.

Wetang’ula dismissed the rival faction led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi saying the party is focused on playing a central role in national politics and the reform agenda.

“In me you have trust, you have a leader who won’t exalt himself but humble himself to serve Kenya. I assure you, I will never let you down,” he said.

Wetangula’s coronation at the NDC as the official party leader and flag bearer of the party solidifies his stake in the One Kenya Alliance (OKA). The alliance principals, Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka attended the event.

“We have an alliance (OKA) that gives hope to Kenyans. There is not a single region, party or person who can walk the journey of leadership alone,” stated the senator.

Earlier, the leadership wrangles in Ford Kenya played out when a faction led by Wamunyinyi and Tongaren MP David Eseli Simiyu dismissed the NDC as null and void.

Addressing a press conference, the Kanduyi MP said the case on the leadership wrangles of the party is still in court and wondered why the Wetang’ula faction convened the NDC without the notice of the secretary general.

“We are wondering why the Wetang’ula faction is holding the conference despite the court order,” Wamunyunyi said

But, the Bungoma Senator ignored the Wamunyinyi camp and went ahead with the NDC.

Economic empowerment

Wetang’ula promised that under the leadership of “Ford Kenya specifically and OKA generally,” Kenyan farmers will be put at the center of economic empowerment while single mothers and their children will also be supported by the government through social welfare systems and bursaries.

“We will craft policies that make a Kenyan farmer a proud farmer,” he said.

The senator promised to ensure that Kenya attains 25 per cent tree cover in the coming years to address the environmental crisis-an issue that has taken center stage in global politics. 

“We shall put equality and justice at the center of Kenyan policies,” he said.

Gideon praised Wetang’ula for his leadership prowess and called on the delegates to popularise Ford Kenya and OKA.

“The strength of Ford Kenya is the strength of OKA,” stated the Baringo Senator.

The Kanu chairman also promised the return of the Guarantee Minimum Returns (GMR) for farmers if the alliance forms the next government. GMR is a minimum return of money guaranteed by the government for every acre of land appropriate for planting with an essential crop.

Kalonzo declared his support for Wetang’ula and promised to ensure a thriving economy where Kenyans get free data bundles to access the internet, a 24-hour economy and slash the taxes by 50 per cent to result to what he said will be, “very little tax evasion in the country.”

The Bungoma senator’s endorsement comes less than 24 hours after he moved to court on Wednesday evening and succeeded to overturn a ruling by the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal restraining Ford Kenya factions from convening the NDC.

The faction led by Wamunyinyi had planned to hold the NDC on November 6.

“We have had many wrangles in the past but after today, all that is going to end. We have decided on who is going to lead the party and that is Senator Moses Wetangula,” said Ford Kenya National Organising Secretary Chris Mandu Mandu.

“There is only one Ford Kenya. Any other Ford Kenya that is not here today is not our party,” said the party’s secretary general Hadija Mustafa.

The successful NDC is a major win for Wetang’ula who has battled infighting in the party which almost dislodged him from the position of party leader.

But Dr Eseli said they will not recognise the resolutions of the NDC and told Wetang’ula they will meet in court on November 15.

He termed the meeting illegal saying he did not sign the documents in his capacity as the party’s secretary-general.

Staged a coup

“We want to tell our supporters that, that is not a Ford-Kenya meeting, it’s an OKA meeting and should not be taken seriously,” he said.

Wamunyinyi said the National Executive Council dismissed Wetangula as Ford Kenya leader hence he is not recognised by the party.

The was accused of alleged gross misconduct and failing to propel the party to greater heights.

In June last year, the Wamunyinyi faction staged a coup to oust the senator as the Ford Kenya leader over allegations of gross misconduct.

The faction won in round after the Registrar of Political Parties formally gazetted Wetang’ula’s removal together with Mandu Mandu.

However, two months later, the gazette notice was recalled paving the way for the senator to stay at the helm of the Lion party.

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