ANC officials downplay talk of dissolution amid significant state appointments

Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, COTU Sec General Francis Atwoli, and Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula during the burial service of the mother of DPP Renson Igonga the late Femina Khayisio at Makunga Primary School in Mumias East on May 11, 2024. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Reports that the Amani National Congress (ANC) party could fold and join President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party has elicited mixed reactions.

ANC officials have dismissed the reports suggesting that the recent notable appointments of a section of individuals aligned with the party to plum government jobs signify a shift towards joining UDA.

Former ANC Secretary General, Simon Gikuru, and Musalia's close ally, Ambassador Lazarus Amayo's recent elevation to prominent positions of the deputy Statehouse comptroller and Special Envoy of the African Union champion for industrial reform respectively, courtesy of UDA boss President William Ruto have set tongues wagging.

Despite interpretations from political pundits implying a concession of sovereignty to UDA, ANC stands resolute in its independence and objectives.

“People can say all they want but the truth is the appointments have nothing to do with folding our party to join UDA. Gikuru is not an ANC member, he was replaced by Luanda MP Omboko Milemba and has been hunting for a state job at a personal level until he landed one. You recall the other day he submitted his resume wanting to be cabinet secretary?” said ANC national chairman Kelvin Lunani.

“I don't know much about Amayo as he is not our party member. All I am sure of is that we are a partner party in Kenya Kwanza government with UDA and we are not folding parties anytime soon. That would be a tall order,” added Lunani.

Lunani has assured party members and supporters countrywide that ANC will continue existing as a political party and that they should not be misled by speculations doing rounds.

Last month, ANC Secretary General Omboko Milemba was categorical that ANC had no plans to fold.  He indicated that they would intensify the membership registration drive to strengthen the outfit.

Nonetheless, political pundits aver that there could be more than meets the eye in the current confusion that has marred the future of the party founded by Mudavadi.

The Prime Cabinet Secretary relinquished his party leader position in October last year. Lamu Governor Issa Timamy was appointed by ANC Council Bureau to take over the reins albeit in an acting capacity.

Insiders confided that Mudavadi has been under intense pressure from President William Ruto to fold his party and join UDA despite recent changes in the party that saw its constitution amended erasing the positions of two deputy party leaders.

Prof Gitile Naituli who characterised the appointments of “Musalia men” and the recent favours he received from Ruto like being handed the powerful Foreign Affairs docket despite holding onto the PCS as gestures to reward his willingness to fold ANC.

He said unlike Ford-Kenya party boss Moses Wetang’ula, Musalia was not a gifted negotiator to push for the goodies, not when his contribution to Kenya Kwanza getting into government was just a handful.

“It raises eyebrows that he and his men are being rewarded when Mudavadi’s own Vihiga backyard and Western Kenya at large is an opposition stronghold. Ruto must be investing in him in anticipation of 2027 when Musalia would have crossed to his party,” said Naituli.

Political pundit Martin Andati said for the ANC party die-hards who have refused to buy reports that their party leader long jumped should know that their resistance is futile since Mudavadi's leadership transcends theirs.

“For all reasons and intent Mudavadi is the face of the party and declared to do all it takes to back President Ruto’s re-election in the coming polls. He left his party to concentrate on that,” he said.

“Mudavadi is now toying with semantics calling the folding a ‘merger’ in the hope that UDA will also fold so they form one party with Ruto, very few believe UDA can fold to merge with ANC," said Andati.

He said the two key appointments made on Tuesday could be a reward for the willingness to fold but they were “insignificant” especially that of Musalia’s former SG as “he will never call shots in the Statehouse that has the likes of Oscar Sudi (Kapseret MP) and Farouk Kibet (Ruto’s close aide) but only bag a salary.” 

These developments come even as pressure on the duo of Musalia and Wetangula to fold parties keeps piling.

On Saturday during the funeral of the mother to Director of Public Prosecution Renson Ingonga in Kakamega, Governors Jonathan Bii (Uasin Gishu) and Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) appealed to the two to do so in favour of Ruto.

“Ruto has a unique feeling for the Mulembe Nation as they delivered the significant vote that gave him an edge over Raila Odinga in the last presidential polls, now Mudavadi and Wetangula should come together and support him for the second term and he will return the favour when he quits the presidency in 2032,” said Bii.

Sakaja on the other hand suggested that the talks to fold ANC and Ford-Kenya were on and implored the two to drop hard stances.

“I know you two have walked a lengthy and trying journey with President Ruto and you only have one last test to pass, which you all know. Talks are on and I am sure it will end well,” said the Nairobi Governor without delving deeper into the issue.

It waits to be seen whether ANC will fold and join UDA in the coming months.

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