News and Views

Moi opposes Kanu change plan

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Retired President Daniel arap Moi has opposed plans to change the name of the country’s party of independence into Kenya Alliance of National Unity.

Mr Moi’s position is a blow to efforts by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to bring on his side at least 24 fringe political parties to give him more bargaining power ahead of this year’s General Election.

On Tuesday, the former president was categorical that Kenya African National Union should not change its name to suit the current circumstances of forming alliances for election purposes and the party, which he chaired for more than 24 years, should not enter into alliances with other parties.

In a statement from his press secretary Lee Njiru, he submitted that those behind the change-the-name crusade were not true reformers.

“Former President Moi is emphatic that Kanu should neither change its name nor enter alliances. He says those wishing to form an alliance with Kanu are pseudo-reformists,” said Mr Njiru.

He was supported by Kanu secretary general Nick Salat, who declared that they would not accept a name change to accommodate fringe parties.

“Kanu is not changing its name. The part of mergers and coalitions are well provided for in the Constitution. They do not arise now since we are yet to comply with the Political Parties Act,” he said.

However, Kanu organising secretary Justin Muturi, who is a close ally of Mr Kenyatta, said the proposal to change the name was in line with the provisions of the Constitution that parties are not founded on racial or ethnic grounds.

But Mr Njiru argued that the word African is not racial and cited examples of South Africa’s African National Congress, the African Union and European Union as entities that were not based on discrimination.

Kanu’s National Executive Council (NEC) is scheduled to meet on Thursday to review the changes to the party constitution agreed upon in Naivasha last month.

The changes include guidelines on nominations for positions of governors, senators, county representatives and county women representatives.

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