Registrar clears the way for Coast parties to agree on coalition deal

Leaders of the four parties say their compliance sets the stage for them to seek approval for an agreement ahead of elections. [Nehemiah Okwembah, Standard]

Coalition talks by four Coast-based political parties have gained impetus after the Registrar of Political Parties gave them the green light to field candidates in the August General Election.

Leaders from Kadu Asili, Shirikisho Party of Kenya (SPK), Umoja Summit Party of Kenya (USPK) and Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) are in the final stages of hammering out a coalition deal.

Yesterday, their leaders said their parties were headed for National Delegates Conferences (NDC) to seek endorsement for their coalition agreement.

The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) had issued tough conditions, including how parties would conduct their nominations, before they could be cleared to field candidates in the August elections.

Yesterday, the party officials noted that the talks on the coalition were in the homestretch and each party would retreat for their respective NDCs to get the nod of membership in a process that could be completed within two weeks.

USPK national chairman Matano Chengo said they were upbeat that all parties in the coalition talks were compliant with the ORPP requirements and were now in the talks as ‘equal partners’ unlike in the first round last year when some parties regarded themselves as complaint and undermined others.

“Umoja Summit complied with the Registrar of Political Parties’ rules four weeks ago and has featured in the list of compliant parties.

“We can field candidates in the next election and no other party can ignore us. We are happy that Shirikisho, Kadu Asili and PAA have also complied. We consider this as a game-changer in our coalition talks because there will be no more mistrust and undermining among partners,” he said.

Kadu Asili national chairman Joshua Kombora said they were upbeat as leaders that they were heading in the right direction with talks on formation of a coalition of Coast-based political parties.

“Each partner in the coalition talks is compliant and can field candidates and hence there is mutual respect. Kadu Asili is set to call is NDC within a week and hopefully, proceed to seal the coalition deal. All officials of the partner political parties are positive about the coalition. It is taking shape,” Kombora said.

Abdulkadir Mwinyi, the Shirikisho national chairman, said the four parties had also complied with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) rules, which have made it easier to have meaningful coalition talks as the outfits are on an equal footing.

“We are elated that we complained about the ORPP and IEBC rules as Shirikisho two weeks ago and are on the list of compliant parties. We now hope to conclude coalition talks this week and prepare for the elections,” Mwinyi said.

Registrar of Political Parties, Anne Nderitu. November 2021. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The leaders plan to unveil their coalition, which is aimed at a stamping their authority in the region in the August general election.

The coalition of parties is set to unveil a lead party that will be used to field candidates in the region but the parties will aide one another to win seats in other parts of the country so as to have a share in the government to be formed after the general election.

Sources indicated that the parties had accepted to pick the lead party on the basis of political strength informed by a survey.

The coalition was also meant to achieve unity of the region which has been elusive in the past.

Leaders are now working on a coalition name, symbol and colours before unveiling the outfit which will likely have an inter-party secretariat and election board to coordinate their joint electoral processes.

Just like similar talks that collapsed last year, the coalition seeks to have a lead party in the region to be used by all the other partners to field candidates.

Talks resumed in high gear after PAA - which is associated with Kilifi governor Amason Kingi - got full registration on October 18, last year.

Kingi has indicated that PAA might front ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bid but urged the orange outfit to back the Coast-based party’s efforts to win local elective seats.

Such overtures are in line with the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, which is set to be debated in the Senate tomorrow. One of the key tenets of the Bill is to pave way for the formation of a coalition political party.

The Bill also provides modalities on how such parties can conduct nominations and the time by which they must sign and submit their coalition agreements.