Sunday, 2 March 2014

Uhuru in support of party leadership change

President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) with Deputy President William Ruto (R) and Majority Leader Aden Duale. President Uhuru Kenyatta is rooting for a new strategy that prefers change in the party to start from the grassroots before coming to the national office

State House sanctioned a ceasefire to contain agitation for change in The National Alliance (TNA) party, Sunday Nation can report.
Party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta is rooting for a new strategy that prefers change in the party to start from the grassroots before coming to the national office.
The President feared the call for change in the party if not well managed could sow seeds of acrimony among loyalists.
The President, keen not to repeat the mistakes made by his predecessor Mwai Kibaki, on failure to provide direction to supporters early enough, is supportive of party restructuring beginning this year.
Mr Kenyatta was “well aware” of the agenda of  lawmakers, led by Kajiado West MP Moses ole Sakuda, giving a suggestion he was not opposed to their call for change in the party. “If the President was not sharing the ideas the MPs were agitating for, a message would have been sent to them to that effect,” a close associate of the President said.
But a change of strategy was vital because time for party election was not ripe as yet. Demand for party elections had metamorphosed into a call for removal of party chairman Johnson Sakaja and secretary-general Onyango Oloo.
It is here that President Kenyatta’s advisers thought  the MPs were losing the bigger picture and sought to whip them not to lose focus. Most MPs had a bone to pick with Mr Oloo and cited nomination of County Reps as one issue on which they felt they were treated unfairly.Saturday, Mr Oloo said the ceasefire was important to avoid scenes like those witnessed during the aborted ODM elections at Kasarani on Friday. “We are the ruling party. With the opposition displaying their style like that, we have to forestall such electoral deficiencies,” said Mr Oloo.
Mr Sakuda, who has been leading the change campaign, said the issues that had been raised are still intact. “We have only changed strategy to allow recruitment of members and setting up of regional offices. The party must have new leaders before December,” he said.
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said TNA’s future lies in its ability to remain cohesive and maintain its popularity. “Looking for a suitable time to conduct various party activities is key. Strategically, we should not be caught napping,” said Mr Wamatangi.
He said politicians from President Kenyatta’s backyard are discriminated against when it comes to key positions.” Every time an opportunity arises we are told we come from the President’s place. I have been a victim of this,” said the senator.
The Sakuda team’s argument seemed to have sunk to high echelons of the  party’s leadership necessitating immediate action on matters related to financial management and a road map to the future.
In fact, the party’s National Oversight Board the equivalent of the National Executive Council (NEC) will meet this Wednesday. “We shall meet and decide on a road map,” said Mr Sakaja.
Sources, however, told Sunday Nation, Wednesday’s meeting will hugely discuss money matters that have been at the epicentre of the MPs call for change at the top.
The sources intimated that former executive director Winnie Guchu and Treasurer Wambui Gichuri have been summoned over an audit query of Sh16.7 million supposed to have been paid to party agents and suppliers out of an Equity Bank account.
On saturday, both Mr Oloo and Mr Sakaja confirmed the summons. “They have been invited to shed light on it. So far, no money can be said to have been lost but the board wants to hear it directly from them,” said Mr Sakaja.
The Parliamentary Group further brought up the issue over how party affairs should be conducted. Central Kenya MPs were upset by a suggestion by Taveta MP Naomi Shaban and Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi that Mt Kenya MPs should tread carefully to avoid making the party look like a one community affair.
But Thika MP Alice Ng’ang’a said it was discriminatory to isolate Central Kenya MPs from party positions. She was supported by Embakasi North MP Mwangi Gakuya.

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