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Kanu banking on pact with Jubilee to win top seat in 2022

Tuesday July 14 2020
moi

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By PATRICK LANG'AT

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi-led Kanu is basking in the glory of a post-election deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party, which they said has started bearing fruit.

In the three months since the signing of the deal, West Pokot Senator Samwel Poghisio took over from his Elgeyo-Marakwet counterpart as the Senate Majority Leader while Tiaty MP William Kamket, a dyed-in-the-wool Kanu MP, is set to replace Uasin Gishu Woman Rep Gladys Boss Shollei as chairman of Delegated Legislation Committee in the National Assembly.

And with talks of a Cabinet reshuffle, Kanu has primed itself for a slot in what would be President Kenyatta's legacy-driven 22-person team ahead of the 2022 General Election.

For Senator Moi, Kanu, which held its National Executive Committee meeting last week, hopes to have him in the top line-up in the 2022 succession politics, with eyes on the expanded executive proposed by the BBI report.

TURNED DOWN POST

Mr Moi is said to have turned down the Senate majority leader post "to focus on national politics."

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“Kanu is now the party to watch,” the party’s Secretary-General Nick Salat triumphantly declared Tuesday.

“We are happy that what was agreed upon between us and Jubilee in 2017 has now been put to paper, and what is happening is that what was already agreed is now coming in the limelight, and we know that the existing coalition will continue to benefit us as a party.”

The signing of the post-election agreement in May meant that Kanu became the first party to formalise its agreement with Jubilee, shoring up President Kenyatta's numbers in both Houses at a time of an intense public cold war between the Jubilee leader and his deputy William Ruto.

Former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper and former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) last month signed a similar agreement with the ruling party.

GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT

While the pre-election "gentleman's agreement' allowed Kanu to sit in committees and majority side of the House in the National Assembly and the Senate, the post-poll deal meant that the party’s MPs and senators—just like those of Wiper and CCM—can sit in a Jubilee Party parliamentary group, which will now be called a coalition.

Kanu has 10 MPs in the National Assembly while Mr Moi, Mr Poghisio and nominated senator Abshiro Halake fly the party’s flag in the Senate.

Bigger things

Mr Salat said the party was ready for even bigger things.

“If and when our support is needed, we are ready. If we are needed to serve in any position, we are ready. Our top decision making organ endorsed this kind of arrangement of us working with President Kenyatta when he came to us to ask us for his support,” he explained.

The independence party, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in May, now plans to use the new gains made after the signing of the agreement to revive and re-energise itself.

PALE SHADOW

After being ousted from power for the first time in 2002 by President Mwai Kibaki, who had ironically once described fighting Kanu as akin to an impossible task of "attempting to cut a mugumo tree using a razor blade", the party had become a pale shadow of the colossus that bestrode Kenya's politics for 40 years.

"Our path as a party is punctuated by ups and downs, but resilience remains our greatest source of fortitude. In this regard, we recognise that we have a past of mixed fortunes," Mr Moi said in a statement to mark the party’s 60 years of existence.

 He went on: "...we have also lurked missteps that we acknowledge. Therefore, as we look into our past, we also draw great lessons for the present, both of which will inform our trajectory into the future."

Senator Moi, who was handed over a replica of the baton carried by his father Daniel Moi after his death in February, underscored the party's monumental strides through the attainment of independence —investment in education, girl child empowerment, opening up space for multiparty politics and even "relinquishing power at a time when it was unfashionable to do so."

NEW RELATIONSHIP

As it stands, Kanu now sees the new relationship between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga as well as its deal with Jubilee as its ticket to poll success in 2022, with Senator Moi expected to take the first stab at the top job that his father had for a record 24 years, four months and eight days.

“This 2020 means a lot to us as a party; we are going to do vigorous grassroots sensitisation and Kanu is not an island, we are also looking forward to really taking our rightful place in this country’s political landscape,” Mr Salat said.

On its 60-year-history, Mr Salat said he was most proud of the fact that "Kanu has tentacles everywhere in Kenya or simply put, Kanu is Kenya."

"The thing I am so proud of to be associated with Kanu is that as it stands, it is the only party that has had representation in every Parliament from the first one to the current. All these other outfits are just come-we-stay. We have been here and we will continue to be here. We have risen from the ashes now, and people are trooping back. Watch this space: This is the unstoppable re-invention of the mother party," Mr Salat said.

“We are focused on re-awakening Kanu as Raymond Moi said, and at the centre of it all will be Gideon Moi, whom we will ask to lead the party to take its rightful position in Kenyan politics as well as re-awaken, re-activate and re-connect with our massive, unmatched grassroots following," he added.

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