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Muthama: How we built the biggest party to win presidency

UDA Chairman Johnson Muthama. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

UDA chairman Johnson Muthama said President William Ruto and his allies harnessed their past experiences and lessons to work on a formidable party within two years that is now in control of the presidency, National Assembly, Senate, and most county assemblies.

"We knew the strength and weaknesses of putting together a stronger party. We needed to get it right because we were swimming against the tide of the government that was ready to stop us. Looking back, we are happy about our achievement," said Muthama.

He said that they considered a number of options before they settled on revamping the Party of Development and Reforms (PDR) to be UDA.

"We looked at the name PDR and thought our supporters will have problems pronouncing it, we needed a catchy name and easy to say. We also wanted a symbol that would bring together the hustle of every Kenyan into the picture," said Muthama.

The former Machakos senator said they looked at all party symbols that represented aspirations of the people including boda boda and even animals but eventually landed on the wheelbarrow.

"The wheelbarrow is used by everyone, rich or poor. It is found in every homestead and we saw that it represented the hard work of every Kenyan. That is how we settled on it as our party symbol," said Muthama

He said their next course was to rename the party and symbol using the same officials of PDR because they feared that the then administration of former President Uhuru Kenyatta would have thwarted the move.

After the change of name and the symbol had been secured, Muthama said they unveiled the party with new officials.

"The strategy was to ensure the party is owned by the people, that is why we did not go for pomp and colour while unveiling the party. We wanted it to seep through to the people. Today, the party that we formed two years ago has won the presidency and we are proud of where we have come from," said Muthama.

The UDA chair said after the setting up of government by the party leader, they will conduct party elections which will begin with the position in the village all the way to the national office. 

"We will have elections that will begin from the village level to the sub-location, location, sub-county, county and national offices. We want to have a party like the Chama Cha Mapenduzi (CCM) in Tanzania where people love their party," said Muthama.

He said the party will work closely with the government to ensure the pledges made are fulfilled and the economy improved from the bottom upward. 

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