Balala picks new party to launch his Senate bid
Posted Friday, July 20 2012 at 23:30
- Former Tourism minister’s decision ends months of speculation after he was sacked from Cabinet by the Prime Minister
Former Tourism minister Najib Balala has finally settled on a party following his exit from the Orange Democratic Movement.
In an interview with the Saturday Nation, the Mvita MP said he would contest the Mombasa senate seat on a Republican Congress Party (RCP) of Kenya ticket.
The party, which he said would sell itself as the voice of the Coast people, will be launched in Mombasa next month.
“We got our provisional certificate last month and we are working to comply with the requirements of the Political Parties Act before we launch in August,” said Mr Balala.
The announcement ends months of speculation about Mr Balala’s political future since his sacking from the Cabinet by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Mr Balala has a huge task on his hands trying to position the party as the dominant player at the Coast.
In the absence of a serious presidential contender commanding a bloc vote, the region is widely considered an open hunting ground, with a number of aspirants making forays in recent weeks.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto pitched tent in the area. Others who have made campaign tours recently are Mr Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.
Mr Balala said he had decided to register the RCP after unsuccessfully discussing deals with other parties.
“We tried to align ourselves with registered parties but we realised this was not working. After we helped two parties to register and they conned us, we decided to register a new party all together,” said Mr Balala.
The party’s slogan is “It is possible” (Yawezekana) and its symbol a galloping horse.
Mr Balala has held talks with Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi on possible alliance.
“We are talking to different presidential aspirants to see what they have in store for the Coast region,” Mr Balala said.
The Mvita MP also said he had met officials of Coast parties like Kadu Asili, Shirikisho Party of Kenya and Chama Cha Uzalendo.
But Ganze MP Francis Baya, who is the Kadu Asili de facto leader, denied holding talks with Mr Balala and rejected the idea of an alliance.
Some politicians in the region think Mr Balala’s party has come too late.
Lamu East MP Abu Chiaba said Mr Balala has been promising to form a party for so long that no one took him seriously any more.
He said Coast votes were up for grabs as there had been no single dominant player in the last decade.