Forty MPs allied to TNA on Thursday threatened to quit if their party leader Uhuru Kenyatta stepped down for Mr Musalia Mudavadi to lead the coalition with URP and UDF into the March 4 elections.
The lawmakers said they would rather decamp to ODM than support what they described as a re-grouping of Kanu within the coalition.
“We note with deep concern the agreement stating clearly that there will be a nomination (for the presidential ticket) between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Mudavadi. There are a lot of rumours circulating that Uhuru is to step down. We dismiss this notion and categorically state that our candidate is Uhuru,” Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi said after a TNA parliamentary group meeting at the Boulevard Hotel, Nairobi.
The MPs asked Mr Kenyatta and URP leader William Ruto to assure their supporters that they were still on a joint ticket. Mr Kenyatta, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Ruto cut their political teeth in Kanu under former President Daniel arap Moi’s rule. (READ: MPs: Uhuru in race to the end)
MPs were invited to the meeting by SMS, which read: “Due to arising complexities, unexpected scenarios and swift dynamics, TNA Parliamentary Group needs to meet urgently. Either we are at the front in emerging plans or we sink and regret. Let’s meet at noon. It’s very urgent and necessary. Please don’t fail.”
The group accused a senior aide of President Kibaki of fronting Mr Mudavadi.
Nithi MP Kareke Mbiuki and Nominated MP Rachel Shebesh threatened to mobilise their supporters out of the “Jubilee coalition” if Mr Kenyatta stepped down.
“If we are not given a chance to have Mr Kenyatta on the ballot through such deals that are being claimed, then the people of Nithi would rather vote for ODM,” Mr Mbiuki said.
Some of the MPs who spoke to the Nation in confidence for fear of jeopardising their relations with Mr Kenyatta claimed some State House officials allied to UDF were piling pressure on their leader to give up his power aspirations.
“Any attempt to impose [a candidate in the] Kibaki succession will boomerang. Shadowy mandarins exacting proxy State power to inherit themselves must be rejected,” said Assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando.
He went on: “We know that there are some forces trying to scuttle this alliance and we are not going to entertain their blackmail, intimidation or threats.”
The rebellion came two days after Mr Mudavadi joined the coalition of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto. Mr Mudavadi and Mr Kenyatta will face off in the nominations for the presidential ticket by December 18, while Mr Ruto will retain the deputy presidency.
The agreement does not indicate how the nomination will be conducted, but Mr Musyimi said they expect a “free and fair” contest between for the party ticket.
Nominated MP Amina Abdallah claimed the uncertainty over Mr Kenyatta candidature could make some TNA supporters not register as voters.
At the same time, the MPs distanced themselves from an agreement between Kanu and UDF.
“We are not going to allow this backdoor entry of Kanu. We left Kanu a long time ago and we are not ready to go back,” Mr Kabando said.
URP spokesman Aden Duale warned his party may pull out of the coalition if Kanu was not excluded. He asked Mr Mudavadi to cancel the deal with Kanu.
In Parliament, Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto declared that Kanu was not part of the coalition. He said URP rejected overtures from the former ruling party last week.
“If they have some other agreements with UDF, probably those were their earlier stories. As far as we are concerned we are only dealing with UDF and TNA,” he said.
He claimed Kanu was plotting to split the coalition.
“If Kanu was to speak, that should have been the Kanu of Uhuru Kenyatta before they transformed themselves into TNA. There is no other Kanu other than that one in Parliament. This is the other Kanu that is operating in the shadows,” he added.