- Political commentator Herman Manyora says the parties are emerging out of political uncertainty in their regions.
- Whoever bags Mt Kenya votes will have a head start going to the 2022 elections.
Small parties funded by wealthy backers have made a comeback to the political scene in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta and upend the dominance of Mr Raila Odinga as opposition leader.
The Party of National Unity (PNU), Democratic Party (DP), Civic Renewal Party, Kanu, Chama Cha Mashinani and the Transformational National Alliance have been on a recruitment drive, publicity blitzes and holding high profile events, begging the question of who is behind their resurgence.
PNU raised the stakes on Friday when it held a National Delegates Conference that signalled an end to internal wrangles that have persisted since 2016.
Multiple sources said an outstanding Sh41 million bank loan taken by trustees to acquire the building housing the party headquarters in 2007 has recently been settled by unidentified benefactors.
Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi made “a special appearance” at the Moi International Sports Complex meeting.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and a group of politicians from Mt Kenya have also registered TNAP.
The party seems to enjoy the patronage of Deputy President William Ruto’s allies.
Among the TNAP officials is The National Alliance (TNA) honchos like former Athi Water chairman Keen Wachira, who accompanied members when they received a provisional certificate. TNA dissolved to form Jubilee before the 2017 General Election.
Earlier this year, DP, which was formed in 1991 by Mr Mwai Kibaki, was in the news when it appointed former Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera as its deputy leader.
The party also held a daylong meeting funded by a wealthy Mt Kenya senator and an aspiring governor from Nairobi.
It is being touted as an alternative to Jubilee should there be a fallout.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, an ally of Dr Ruto, said the formation or revival of small parties is taking the country “to the bad old days”.
“We formed Jubilee to unite and not divide us. But, we know some people want to use the parties as bargaining chips in 2022. Others want to undermine the Deputy President, but they will not succeed,” Mr Gachagua said.
Mr Nyakera, who is also the Political Parties Liaison Committee chairman, said the alignments are nothing more than democracy at work.
“The memories of shambolic nominations witnessed in Jubilee are still fresh in many people’s minds. People do not want to be in a position where they will be kicked out at the last minute. It’s all democracy,” Mr Nyakera said.
Former Gatanga MP David Murathe dismissed the parties, saying those forming or reviving them are wasting their time.
“Every region has a leader. That leader is the face of the party in that area. For Mt Kenya, it is President Kenyatta. If he were to go to another party, we would all join him. The so-called small parties would be vanquished in an instant were there to be a political realignment in the country,” Mr Murathe said.
“Mt Kenya is waiting to get political direction from its leader. Until the President pronounces himself on that matter, the small parties cannot move. Those groupings are wasting time. They cannot muster any following.”
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