Thursday, November 29, 2012

Inside the Uhuru-Ruto deal

Deputy Prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

Deputy Prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto. Mr Ruto said the pre-election pact with Mr Kenyatta offered them a “realistic chance” of forming the next government and to help them bring the case at The Hague, the Netherlands, where they are charged with crimes against humanity, back to Kenya. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

United Republican Party and The National Alliance are proposing to share the government down the middle in their pre-election agreement expected to be unveiled on Sunday, Daily Nation sources have said.

The highlights of the agreement are a 50-50 sharing of Cabinet and Civil Service positions in a government with Mr Kenyatta as President, Mr William Ruto as Deputy President and TNA producing a candidate for Speaker of the National assembly and URP getting the Senate Speaker slot.

On Wednesday, Mr Ruto convened a meeting of grassroots leaders from the Rift Valley to explain the agreement to them as well as give reasons for his dropping out of the race in favour of Mr Kenyatta.

Next government

The more than 3,000 elders from the Rift Valley Province gave the United Republican Party leader the go-ahead to work with TNA.

The URP leader said the pre-election pact with Mr Kenyatta offered them a “realistic chance” of forming the next government and to help them bring the case at The Hague, the Netherlands, where they are charged with crimes against humanity, back to Kenya.

“We are uniting to have a greater chance of bringing back this case to Kenya,” Mr Ruto told the elders at the Eldoret Sports Club.

“We are sure of winning the next General Election in the first round. We have built our party (URP) attracting a large following from different communities countrywide. TNA-URP alliance is meant to foster peace and development in the country,” he said. (READ: Uhuru, Ruto coalition aims first round win)

On why he opted out of the presidential race, Mr Ruto said he realised that he could not make it on his own. He argued that it was almost impossible for him to get 50 per cent plus one votes all by himself, hence the alliance.

“Lone rangers will not form the next government given the strict guidelines of the new constitution. Kikuyus have got the numbers and if we add our votes we will form a formidable alliance that will triumphantly enter State House,” he said.

Other alliance talks

As Mr Ruto was selling his alliance, other aspirants were deep in talks to strike their own deals ahead of the December 4 deadline.

Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Eugene Wamalwa, Mr Cyrus Jirongo and Mr Moses Wetang’ula on the one hand and Mr Peter Kenneth and Mr Raphael Tuju on the other, were locked in separate meetings in their rush to beat the deadline for coalition making.

Mr Mudavadi (United Democratic Forum), Mr Wamalwa (New Ford Kenya), Mr Jirongo (Federal Party of Kenya) and Mr Wetang’ula ( Ford Kenya) held talks in an attempt to agree on one presidential candidate from the Luhya community.

Mr Kenneth of the Kenya National Congress (KNC) and Party of Action’s Tuju met and said they were on the verge of forming a pre-election coalition.

Talks between allies of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to work out an alliance were also held at different venues.

Revealing details of his pact with Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto asked his supporters to back the alliance, noting the decision was made after careful consideration and consultation with URP leaders and supporters.

The position of Leader of Majority in Parliament has been left open and is being dangled at Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa.

However, URP is still insisting that the position belongs to them and they will determine who gets it. Both Mr Musyoka and Mr Wamalwa have abandoned the talks, claiming, they were being “treated like junior partners” in the talks.

The TNA-URP deal also includes sharing the 22 Cabinet slots and top Civil Service jobs on a 50-50 basis. They have also agreed that parties will not compete against each other in their respective strongholds as a way of ensuring that they have the maximum number of seats in both the Senate and National Assembly.

However, the two parties have agreed that if they both win in cosmopolitan counties such as Mombasa, Nakuru, Kajiado and Nairobi, TNA would take the governorship, while URP takes the senatorship, and vice versa.

This was confirmed by Mr Ruto who said that URP would not field a candidate for the gubernatorial seat in Nakuru county as part of the agreement with TNA. TNA will offer the position of deputy governor to a URP nominee.

Mr Kenyatta’s party will not field a candidate for the senate seat in Nakuru. This will give an opportunity to URP to take the seat, Mr Ruto said.

“We have agreed with them that they will take three seats and we take the other three… We will come with Mr Kenyatta and he will tell you exactly that this Sunday,” he said.

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