Revealed: TNA's Strategy to Win in 2013 General Elections
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) plans to win national support by ensuring free and fair nominations of its candidates, a perennial pitfall for parties in an election year.
And as if to signal its intent on the latter, the party immediately tasked presidential hopeful and Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi, who decamped from the Democratic Party (DP) last week with chairing a committee that will reach out to like-minded parties with a view to entering into pre or post-election partnerships.
TNA’s nominations will follow a nationwide membership recruitment exercise targeting every county and constituency in Kenya.
Aware of the chaotic nominations that dogged most parties in the ill-fated 2007 General Election, including its main rival, the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) and the Party of National Unity (PNU), TNA is taking no chances, even after bagging two parliamentary seats in the recently concluded by-elections in Kajiado North and Kangema.
Details of the party’s plans emerged during a two-day retreat by the party in Naivasha to take stock of TNA’s progress and keep the fire burning, going into the elections.
Also discussed was election of interim officials, who, according to party officials, will not be running for elective seats.
Assistant Minister Kareke Mbiuki, who attended the talks, described the retreat as a “house keeping” forum aimed at strengthening the party.
“Internal democracy is key in building a strong political party and one such way is conducting free and fair nominations. That is why we discussed nomination rules,” Kareke said.
The Agriculture assistant minister added: “We want to ensure that TNA has aligned itself with the various election and party laws. We also want to beat the various timelines set in the legislations.”
Mwea MP Peter Gitau also confirmed the happenings at the retreat saying recruitment of party members was among the key things discussed.
“The party does not belong to Uhuru or any other member. It belongs to the people. It is paramount that we roll out a recruitment drive that will make it popular,” said Gitau.
The MP said that during the meeting, Uhuru assured participants that TNA would conduct free and fair nominations and set the bar in political party democracy.
It was agreed that TNA would also craft a unique manifesto.
On Musyimi’s role, Kareke said: “We want to open structured talks with like-minded parties with the aim of entering into agreement so they can be deposited with the registrar of political parties. To do that Musyimi has been tasked to lead the process.”
Gitau said the Musyimi committee would, among other things, engage political parties from marginalised communities.
Multiple sources that attended the meeting told The Standard the party adopted a plan for a massive recruitment of members.
In the discussions, it was generally agreed that TNA was running out of time to engage other parties and enhance the decision to form a working committee of 10 members under Musyimi.
“The consensus was that for the party to succeed in the March elections, it needed to come up with rules of entering into election pacts with other parties.
“Majority felt that time was running out for the party to enter into pre or post-election agreements, which are supposed to be deposited with the registrar of political parties,” said an MP, who did not want to be named.
Another MP who was at the talks but also declined to be named disclosed to The Standard that the plan is for TNA to lock down its Central Kenya stronghold before moving to other regions.
“It was agreed that buoyed by the outcome of the by-election results, TNA should ensure that the Mt Kenya region is solidly behind it before moving to other areas,” the MP said.
He, however, said that making inroads in other regions would be a priority lest the party is branded a regional or tribal outfit.
Another MP at the retreat allayed fears there would be a falling out because of nominations, saying the Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta stated categorically that he had no favourite candidates for various contestable seats in the next elections.
“Uhuru is of the view it would not be in the interest of the party to have certain people, mostly the sitting MPs, given preference over others in the nominations,” the MP said.
The party also welcomed into its fold nominated MP Rachael Shebesh of ODM member who made a surprise appearance at the meeting.
Thika politician Alice Ng’ang’a, who was in Peter Kenneth’s Kenya National Congress (KNC), also attended the retreat.
On Monday, Ng’ang’a, who was until recently KNC Secretary General, said on phone, “I ditched KNC and I am now firmly in TNA and as the aspirant representative I stressed the need for all of us to be involved in the party meetings.”
Ng’ang’a, who is going for the Thika Town parliamentary seat, added: “We want such other meetings to involve all the political parties since the party belongs to the people and it is the party with aspirations that Kenyans are yearning for.”
Significantly, the retreat, attended by 35 legislators allied to TNA saw the participation of several MPs from other parties, who had expressed their interest in joining the party.
Also in attendance was Naivasha MP John Mututho of Kanu among others.
Apart from MPs drawn from Mt Kenya region, others who attended the retreat included Katoo ole Metito, Joseph Sakuda, Joseph Kiuna, Nelson Gaichuhie, Lee Kinyanjui and John Mututho from Rift Valley Province.
Naomi Shaban, Abu Chiaba and Amina Abdallah came from Coast Province.
Source: The Standard