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TNA, URP call delegates behind Mudavadi’s back

Friday December 21 2012

Deputy prime minister Musalia Mudavadi. Photo/FILE

Deputy prime minister Musalia Mudavadi. Photo/FILE 

By BERNARD NAMUNANE [email protected] and ISAAC ONGIRI [email protected]

The Jubilee coalition seemed to have breathed its last after Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance and William Ruto’s United Republican Party announced a delegate’s conference to nominate a presidential candidate on Sunday to which Musalia Mudavadi’s party says it has not been invited.

TNA and URP also pulled out of a planned joint rally in Nyeri on Friday in the last minute, embarrassing the United Democratic Forum’s leader, whose campaign team had announced it. The rally, at Dedan Kimathi Stadium, was also to be addressed by Charity Ngilu of Narc.

Jubilee has been a theatre of political drama in which Mr Mudavadi and Mr Kenyatta signed a secret deal in which Mr Kenyatta agreed to step down for Mr Mudavadi.

Mr Kenyatta has since disowned the agreement saying he was blackmailed by “dark forces”.

In a TV interview earlier in the week, Mr Ruto said those who had persuaded Mr Kenyatta to step down did not do what they had promised to do. It is not clear exactly who was involved in the negotiations or what promises had been made.

URP and TNA on Thursday said they were going ahead with preparations for the conference at which they will pick the torchbearer.

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Their coalition partner, UDF, also met to work on the option of their own presidential nomination if plans to reconcile Mr Mudavadi and Mr Kenyatta failed.

It is not clear whether a much-publicised rally tomorrow at Tononoka Grounds in Mombasa will go ahead.

On Thursday, TNA secretary-general Onyango Oloo, and URP chairman Francis ole Kaparo and spokesman Aden Duale confirmed to the Nation that plans to host the conference were under way.

However, UDF chairman Osman Hassan said they were not aware of the Sunday National Delegates Conference at Kasarani in Nairobi.

“Our people want the delegates to decide on who our flagbearer will be and we are doing all we can to grant them that,” Mr Oloo said.

Mr Kaparo said the alliance was working on logistics for the Sunday conference.

Mr Duale said each party in the coalition has been asked to invite 1,500 delegates to the conference, adding, they will go ahead with the plans even if UDF opts out.

He said URP leaders met on Wednesday night and agreed to ignore secret agreements signed by members of the coalition.

Matter was not raised

“If UDF doesn’t bring delegates, we will go ahead and elect a presidential candidate... deals which have been signed elsewhere do not matter to us,” he said.

Mr Hassan was surprised when contacted over the Sunday delegates’ conference, saying that the joint chairmen of the coalition partners met in the morning, but the matter was not raised.

He argued that it will be against the structure in the coalition for the two parties to go ahead with the delegates conference without involving UDF.

“I am not aware of it. When a communiqué is sent out, it is normally signed by the three of us (three chairmen)... All I know is that we got a seven-day window to sort out the matter,” he said.

Mr Mudavadi has indicated that he will stay in the race to the end and the UDF political council was working on plans to that effect last evening.

“We are in the Jubilee alliance, but again let us not confuse people. Nothing in law stops anyone from coming out of the coalition at any time,” he told a TV talk show.

Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale, a supporter of the DPM, said that joining the coalition did not mean that UDF had closed shop.

“Our own campaigns are on course. We are simply going to reorganise and move forward. We want to tell our supporters that Mr Mudavadi’s constituency is intact and they should not panic,” said.

UDF secretary-general Dan Ameyo said the agreement deposited at the Registrar of Political Parties cannot hinder his party from pursuing other avenues to its ultimate goal.

“We will remain in the coalition, but that does not mean that we cannot have our own candidate. The others can also have theirs, but still we are partners,” he said.

UDF was also exploring possibilities of pursuing the matter in court, it was understood.

“For the Nyeri and Mombasa rallies, we are in  the organising team of the Jubilee coalition and we will participate,” Mr Hassan said.