Uhuru, Ruto get down to coalition talks
Posted Friday, October 19 2012 at 23:30
- State House aspirants meet to set parameters of pre-poll pact between their parties
- URP and TNA leaders plan to contest the March 4, 2013, election on a joint ticket. Barely a week ago, the Eldoret North lawmaker met Raila, raising questions over future of the G7 Alliance
Presidential aspirants Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have started structured talks which could lead to a pre-election coalition.
The two politicians met on Thursday night in Karen in the company of six loyal MPs and set the rules of engagement for their parties, TNA and URP.
The meeting came just a day after Mr Ruto hosted about 20 MPs allied to URP and briefed them on his talks with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Cabinet minister Jamleck Kamau, Juja MP William Kabogo and Nominated MP Rachael Shebesh accompanied Mr Kenyatta, while assistant minister Kazungu Kambi, and MPs Charles Keter (Belgut) and Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu) formed Mr Ruto’s team.
Mr Kambi said they met at Mr Ruto’s Karen home. “We met and we have agreed and mandated our candidate to engage with TNA. That is why Mr Kenyatta came to see us. We will continue talking,” he said.
He said the party had mandated Mr Ruto to seek alliances with other leaders to form a winning team.
“We do not want to close the door on anyone. We want to even talk to Raila, Kalonzo (Musyoka) and (Musalia) Mudavadi as our mission is to build a united country ahead of the elections and what we are doing now is bonding,” Mr Kambi said.
Another MP who cannot be named as he is not authorised to speak on the matter said the party preferred a deal with Mr Kenyatta to teaming up with Mr Odinga.
“We are giving Mr Kenyatta first preference so long as the deal will give URP at least the deputy presidency and 60 per cent of government appointments or we take the presidency and 50 per cent of public offices,” said another MP.
TNA secretary-general Johnson Sakaja confirmed the meeting.
“We do not want to hide the fact that TNA is willing to work with URP,” he said.
The two teams are expected to meet next week and appoint technocrats to lead the process.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto hope to strike a deal before December 4 when parties are expected to submit pre-election pacts to the Registrar of Political Parties.
Mr Ruto’s aggressiveness could eclipse other G7 players from the equation as Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa, who has been seen as favourite to be Mr Kenyatta’s running mate, may be displaced.
It is unclear what role Mr Musyoka, also G7 member, will play in the alliance. Both Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta are willing to engage Mr Mudavadi as long as he can consolidate support in western.
On Friday, Mr Mudavadi asked leaders from the province to support him. “Our talks with Cyrus Jirongo and Moses Wetang’ula and others was an initiative of Mr Francis Atwoli in his capacity as a leader from the region. He is out of the country but we intend to continue next week so that we can agree on a way forward,” he said.
Other positions that could be shared include that of the leader of majority party, speaker of the senate and national assembly, cabinet and diplomatic appointments.