DEPUTY Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has snubbed the big parties for his political future. He has opted instead for the National Alliance Party of Kenya which will be rebranded next week at the KICC as The National Alliance once it has been awarded a certificate of registration. Uhuru wants to create a new dispensation in the politics of Kenya and Central province and is keen to avoid a party associated with past power brokers.
Last month he gave up his longstanding chairmanship of Kanu. Previously he had snubbed the United Democratic Forum and resisted pressure from his Mt. Kenya backyard to join the Alliance Party of Kenya. Instead Uhuru negotiated with Nginyo Kariuki to have his youthful allies from different regions to take over NAPK.
Johnson Sakaja from Western is listed as the party's chairman, Onyango Oloo from Nyanza as the secretary general, Wambui Gichuru from Central as Treasurer, and Mr. Billiaha from the Coast as Organising Secretary. Moses Kuria, who has resigned as PNU spokesman, is likely to become TNA's Executive Director. Uhuru, the MP for Gatundu South, believed that APK and UDF represented the past that he wants to shed off.
APK is coordinated by Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi, a long time ally of President Kibaki, while the UDF was set up by Kibaki's inner circle led by his personal assistant Prof. Nick Wanjohi. UDF was a vehicle designed for Uhuru but it has now been allocated to Musalia Mudavadi who announced on Wednesday that it will be his vehicle in the 2013 presidential election.
Uhuru also refused an offer to join the Democratic Party formed by Kibaki in 1991 but now controlled by former ministers Joseph Munyao and Chris Murungaru. “Uhuru has been working with the masses and not the rich people or the old guard who always want to have their cake and eat it. He wants to overhaul the political environment completely,” Nithi MP Kareke Mbiuki explained.
Mbiuki, a youthful Uhuru ally, said, “Uhuru does not work with the past but in the present. This can be testified by the age of TNA party officials who are in the age bracket of 30s.” “Senior business community leaders thought that they could get his support and make business deals but the common mwananchi are with him. He wants a fresh face for his leadership and not the rich and powerful people.”
Another ally, Justin Muturi who chairs the Centre for Multiparty Democracy, says that Uhuru's strategy is informed by the new legal and political dispensation. “Uhuru wants to comply with the law and let non politicians run his party. He is also keen to change the atmosphere of the country's politics by embracing youthful support,” Muturi adds.
Analysts point at Uhuru's alleged influence in the recent appointments of Njeru Githae as Finance minister, Eugene Wamalwa as Justice minister, and Jamleck Kamau as Nairobi Metropolitan minister. Githae, Kamau and Eugene are all in their 40s. Uhuru has also avoided rich and influential people in Central province who have in the past sponsored presidential campaigns behind the scenes and instead worked with his think tank the UK Centre.
UKC has five offices but only two are known. One is at Uhuru's private office in Chancery building along Valley Road while another one at Red Cross House near Parliament buildings. Muturi, former Gatanga MP David Murathe, Uhuru's PAs Njee Muturi and Jomo Gecaga, and his director of communications Munyori Buku are among the officials who man his think tank.