Eugene Wamalwa to Ditch Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto Alliance
NAIROBI; KENYA: Trouble is brewing for presidential aspirants Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto who seem to be pulling in different directions in their efforts to create a pre-election alliance.
Uhuru’s TNA and Ruto’s URP are holding separate talks with several other parties as they try to strengthen themselves ahead of a final deal with each other. However, these negotiations are in trouble due to differences over which leaders or parties to woo and what to offer them to bring them aboard. At least two potential allies have walked away from these talks in a huff and a third is set to do so, we can report.
TNA’s talks have been aimed at PNU and its former allies, Eugene Wamalwa’s New
Ford Kenya, Charity Ngilu’s Narc and Najib Balala’s Republican Congress party among others. URP’s Ruto is trying to talk Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Musalia Mudavadi (UDF) into joining him at the negotiating table with Uhuru. Their chances of success with some of these groups are dwindling fast.
The Standard On Saturday has established that Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa could follow Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka in walking away from further talks over what close allies describe as “mistreatment”. According to a credible source, he plans to launch an independent bid for the presidency on a New Ford-Kenya ticket on December 1 at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi. Reached for comment, the Saboti MP hinted at his growing discomfort.
“I could be comfortable with Slot Two (running mate) in that alliance, but because Ruto wants Slot Two, I have retreated to consolidate (support in) my Western region,” Wamalwa said. ”I have lined up six rallies this weekend.”
Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi’s APK last weekend threw a tantrum at the way talks with TNA were going. Kiraitu was unhappy at demands that his party and others join TNA without pre-conditions. Reacting yesterday, Uhuru told off potential allies allegedly making unreasonable demands.
“I will not accept to be blackmailed by people who are making demands before they join TNA,” Uhuru told supporters in Meru.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s hands are partly tied by the tough stance taken by URP on how to accommodate TNA allies.
Some pundits say the stringent terms could be Ruto’s way of preparing an exit strategy from the TNA arrangement if resistance to the proposed alliance keeps growing in his Rift Valley home-turf. On Thursday, a section of youths drawn from North-Rift counties demonstrated in Eldoret town against the URP-TNA coalition.
The prospect of Wamalwa decamping could be the next headache for Uhuru. The minister has had meetings with his Trade counterpart Moses Wetang’ula, Forestry Minister Noah Wekesa, Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo, Assistant Lands minister Wakoli Bifwoli and former Assistant Minister Omingo Magara to discuss their political options. One such meeting was held on Thursday night in a Nairobi hotel where Wamalwa, Jirongo, Wakoli and Magara were present. An earlier meeting had been held between Wamalwa, Wetang’ula and Jirongo on Thursday morning before Wetang’ula later flew out to Kampala on official duty.
Jirongo says Wamalwa assured them during the Thursday morning meeting that he was ready to bolt out of the Uhuru-Ruto team. Today, Jirongo will host Wamalwa and other members of the new team in his Lugari constituency where three rallies are lined-up, followed by more rallies on Sunday in Navakholo, Mumias, Butere, and Matungu.
A major provincial rally in Kakamega has been planned for next Sunday (December 2).
Wamalwa did not attend a joint Uhuru-Ruto rally in Narok recently and did not join Uhuru in Meru yesterday
“We met the minister as his close advisors and told him that with all the mistreatment from the Uhuru and Ruto teams, he should bolt out and go all the way to the presidential ballot and he agreed,” said a close political associate of Wamalwa. “His presidential secretariat office in Lavington area is already being furnished.”
Insiders intimated Wamalwa and Ngilu have resisted intense pressure to dissolve their respective parties and join TNA. Ruto’s team maintains both NFK and Narc should be accommodated on TNA’s side of the deal. “We are negotiating on a 50-50 basis. Narc and New Ford Kenya belong to TNA. So what TNA gets, they will have to share with their friends,” Belgut MP Charles Keter, a close Ruto ally, pointed out over a week ago.
The Wamalwa camp believes the Uhuru-Ruto team might shortchange them if Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo, who are also engaged in their own independent alliance talks, agreed to join the fold.
This seems unlikely, though: Kalonzo Musyoka has ruled out returning to the group, pinning his hopes on a loose alliance with Mudavadi that could involve co-operation or, pending further talks, a coalition. The pair may also be headed for a deal with ODM’s Raila Odinga. Ruto dispatched his right-hand man Charles Keter to reach out to the UDF party leader on Monday. Keter’s brief was to talk to Mudavadi to consider joining their G-7 together with Musyoka. The Sabatia MP, however, was not interested.
A Mudavadi ally, Mr Charles Welangai, told The Standard on Saturday: “We have realised their tricks. They want to hold everyone in abeyance as they conclude their talks so that when the deadline comes, they will be the only ones to have struck a deal. I told Keter our people would not be cheated.”
Meanwhile, The Standard On Saturday has obtained secret correspondence that sheds light on the flap between TNA and APK. The parties disagreed over the sharing of nomination slots and the management of any coalition. Trouble started when TNA lawyers sent a draft coalition agreement to APK. Kiraitu passed a copy to Siakago MP Lenny Kivuti who responded for the ‘Bus’ party pointing out eight contentious issues. Among other things, APK wanted a 50 per cent share in the management of the coalition.
“Item 7, the chairman shall be from TNA and there shall be two deputy chairmen from APK,” reads a change in the APK response.
The parties hope to seal their final agreement in less than ten days to beat a December 4 deadline to lodge any deals with the Registrar of Political Parties. Plans by TNA and URP to hold joint rallies are on hold until a deal is sealed
Eugene Wamalwa to Ditch Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto Alliance