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How Uhuru, Raila fixed Kalonzo in Azimio la Umoja agreement

By Nzau Musau | May 16th 2022 | 4 min read


President Uhuru Kenyatta looks on as Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka embrace ODM Leader Raila Odinga after Raila was unveiled as the Azimio flag bearer during a political rally at Jacaranda Grounds on March 12, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]


The deal signed by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya parties on March 12 at KICC grounds locked the partners in the coalition until three months after the elections.

Signatories to the deal, including Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper, cannot leave the coalition six months to the elections or three months after without running afoul of the law.

The deed of agreement signed on March 12 and obtained by The Standard says parties may give a 90-day notice to withdraw from the coalition, which now takes them beyond the election date.

However, Dr Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap and Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance have thrown caution to the wind, and left the coalition without following the laid down protocol. They have signed fresh deals with Deputy President William Ruto led Kenya Kwanza coalition.

Mr Musyoka was among the first to blow the whistle, saying most parties including his own, did not know what they signed up to. He also spoke of some “deep understanding” between him, ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“This agreement is legally binding and enforceable under the laws of the Republic of Kenya. The parties to this agreement shall mutually and in utmost good faith uphold and defend this agreement,” Article 24 of the deed reads.

More than 20 political parties signed up the deed on March 12. A few others signed up much later on April 1st and April 8. Ten of them countersigned every single page of the substantive part of the 16-page deed.

The deal committed the parties to a strenuous and punishing dispute resolution mechanism where breaches are sanctioned by a panel, including expulsion of members. Aggrieved parties have to complain through the top party organ- the Coalition Council- which sits once in three months.

“Where any coalition partner is aggrieved and asserts that there has been a breach of this agreement or its performance is frustrated, it shall by a written resolution of its highest decision making organ refer the matter to the dispute resolution panel,” Article 24 reads.

In the deed, President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga were granted a prime opportunity to constitute the initial Council, the party’s top decision making organ. Article 23 of the transitional provisions of the deed said the party leaders of Jubilee and ODM would agree on the first chairperson, party leader, deputy party leader and members of the coalition council.

In another Article, however, the function of selecting the Council is given to Mr Odinga, Mr Kenyatta, Mr Musyoka and “authorised representatives of Mwanzo Mpya caucus.”

In the names presented to the registrar, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are chairperson and party leader respectively, and Mr Musyoka, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Governors Charity Ngilu and Hassan Joho, Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua, DAP-Kenya’s Wafula Wamunyinyi, Abdi Noor Omar Farah, Sabina Chege, Naomi Shaban and Junet Mohamed are members.

The deed talks of a deputy party leader, but that name was not gazetted when the others were. The coalition council is convened and chaired by the party leader or in his absence the deputy party leader.

Initial versions of the deed had talked of the council chair as the convenor of the Council. In the initial meeting of the Council, President Kenyatta chaired. In the real deal however, Raila will convene the Council as the party leader.

The coalition can be dissolved on three grounds; on mutual agreement of the Uhuru chaired Coalition Council, where the number of constituent parties fall below two and at the expiry of parliament that will come after the August poll.

“The admission of new parties to the coalition shall be the function of the Coalition Council,” the deed reads.

The deed does not indicate how power will be shared between the coalition parties. The closest it comes is Article 11 on Organization of Government. It simply states the parties to the coalition shall form a coalition government.

It lists three principles for “organization of government in the coalition government: “national aspiration for inclusive, participatory, governance, equality and equity including affirmative action, and adherence to terms of coalition government.

The deed also set up a powerful national disciplinary committee which has the power to penalize, suspend, expel, fine and de-whip members on account of disloyalty, corruption, gross misconduct, advancing positions contrary to party wishes, failure to take up party instructions, disobedience or allegiance to another party.

Lawyer Tom Maina Macharia commissioned the deed for majority of the parties. Another lawyer Velma Achieng Maumo commissioned the rest.

The agreement adopts the original Azimio pillars of the 5U’s- utu, undugu, usawa, umoja and uzalishaji. The objectives of the party include formation of inclusive government, defending the Constitution, uphold dignity of all individuals and communities, creation of an internationally competitive nation and fostering equitable distribution of opportunities.

The coalition parties are required by the deed to mobilise resources to achieve the objectives of the coalition agreement. The parties shall share the financial obligations necessary for the management of the coalition but will share political party funds once in power.

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