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Monday, November 05, 2007

Why PNU Will Never Have Joint Nominations

Most predictions including the so-called NSIS figures give PNU 65 seats in the 10th parliament. It is now emerging that the party is unlikely to get even half that number. And don’t think for a moment that those seats will do to ODM or ODM-Kenya. NOPE! They won’t. But what will happen is that the seats in PNU areas will be scattered and shared out amongst many different, some obscure political parties that Kenyans have never heard of.

Indications are that most PNU affiliate and Kibaki-Tena-sympathetic parties are going for individual nominations. The reason is very simple. Most of the incumbent MPs in NARC Kenya and other parties have manipulated things and are sure of getting the PNU nomination so that it will be Kibaki and them TENA (easier to sell when you tell the electorate mimi na Kibaki tena). This has effectively shut out the much more popular candidates in PNU strongholds who are gunning for parliament with the strong grassroots backing from the people.

If you understand this situation clearly then you would know that the only way out of it would be to tell the incumbent MPs to back down. Now that is impossible because these guys are backing the president and in fact backed him during his difficult times when his government looked like it was going to collapse, so how can he abandon them now?

That is the difficult catch 22 situation that the President’s handlers find themselves in now.

It is really complex because if President Kibaki is re-elected he will need all the strength he can master in parliament. As it is now, if estimates of parliamentary seats are anything to go by, it will be virtually impossible for the president to rule with a vast majority of the 10th parliament being hostile and in the opposition. With at least 65 seats solidly in PNU it will be easier to manipulate and bribe a number of broke legislators in the opposition to cross the floor and join the cabinet. However if the other side smells blood (remember after the referendum when people were turning down cabinet posts), nobody will accept any cabinet appointment and chances are the country will head straight back to the polls only weeks after the general elections.

And this is why joint nominations for PNU are a must, but news on the ground clearly shows that there is no way it is going to happen. Even the president does not have powers to prevent a parliamentary candidate from presenting his nomination papers to the ECK for a seat in a PNU stronghold.

I say this very reluctantly because I do not want to look like I am siding with any candidate from now on. The truth is that structurally whoever designed the president’s campaign overlooked this very obvious issue of joint nominations. In retrospect it may have been better for the president to have just joined Narc Kenya.

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