Why parties are signing pacts with Jubilee not ODM under Azimio

Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni addresses the media accompanied by United Democratic Movement (UDM) members led by Mandera Governor Ali Roba at Jubilee Headquarters on March 04, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Jubilee Party is signing coalition agreements with smaller parties to raise it stakes for a power deal with ODM party, it has now emerged.

In the last two weeks, the president's party has signed coalition pacts with over ten smaller parties, handing it exclusive rights of negotiating on their behalf in the Azimio la Umoja Coalition Party.

The party inked coalition agreements with Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) party, which is affiliated with Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, Kenya Union Party (KUP) of West Pokot governor John Lonyangapuo, Party of National Unity (PNU), United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Democratic Action Party (DAP).

PNU led by Agriculture CS Peter Munya, Wiper Party led by Kalonzo Musyoka and KANU led by Senator Gideon Moi also have co-operation pacts with Jubilee.

The move, sources said, was meant to give Jubilee an upper hand in the negotiations and ensure the fringe parties benefit from the merger of the more dominant Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Yesterday, Jubilee Party head of elections Kanini Kega told The Standard that the signing of co-operation agreements was meant to ensure there are as many parties as possible under Jubilee’s umbrella.

“Jubilee will be the party to beat in Mt Kenya. We will also have the most elected representatives,” said Kega.

Under the recently approved political parties Act, individual parties are allowed to join coalitions as individual parties without losing their identities.

To this end, the parties have moved to shield themselves under the shade of President Uhuru Kenyatta's tree, to ensure if Raila clinches the presidency, ODM will not outsmart or rip them off.  

Already, there are jitters within the ODM camp over the looming possibility of holding joint nominations within Azimio.

Immediate former Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju said the parties that had signed with Jubilee would have Uhuru as their focal point within the grander Azimio.

"The whole point of having these discussions with these particular parties is that they are founded to collaborate with Jubilee, and also to have President Kenyatta fighting for their interests within the bigger umbrella," Tuju said.

While speaking at Jubilee NDC held at KICC, Tuju who was accompanied by party Vice Chair David Murathe said the cooperation pacts would transform into pre-election agreements.

The political developments come after President Kenyatta, during his Sagana three address, openly endorsed the mushrooming fringe political parties in Mt Kenya and urged them to come together.

"A house divided is a house built on quicksand but a house united shall live to fight another day. I have no problem with small parties and I will not fight them but let us unite and form a government and protect what is ours. Let us not go alone since we will not reach our destination," Uhuru pleaded.

The move by the Jubilee party to endorse small parties now presents a headache for Deputy President William Ruto who had asked them to merge with his United Democratic Alliance party.