Kenya

UDA slaps heavy fees on party hopefuls in acid test of loyalty

UDA slaps heavy fees on party hopefuls in acid test of loyalty
File | Nation Media Group

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Deputy President William Ruto-linked United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has imposed fees for aspirants to ensure only committed members attend party forums, even as it emerged Jubilee rebels will defect to the new outfit in February.

Aspirants eyeing ward representative seats will pay Sh2,000, those seeking National Assembly posts as well as party positions will pay Sh5,000.

Governor and Senate hopefuls will pay Sh10,000 while those intending to seek the party’s ticket to run for the presidency are required to part with Sh100, 000.

UDA Secretary General Veronica Maina clarified this is a registration fee to gain admission to forums discussing affairs of the new party that plans elections on June 18 -and not a nomination fee- with one such meeting planned in two weeks.

“The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has established an aspirant and leaders’ forum. This forum will offer a platform for all aspirants and leaders who support UDA to engage on all matters and participate in the party activities to inform the party on the decision making process,” said Ms Maina.

“This forum will hold its first meeting 14 days after the date of this advert. Only fully paid up aspirants/leaders will be admitted to this meeting,” reads the notice dated April 26.

Ms Maina yesterday told the Nation that the registration for the leaders’ forum is not a scheme to raise funds but a way of not entertaining what she described as ‘jokers’.

“This is not a nomination fee, it is a registration to this forum so that we do not deal with jokers. We need commitment to show that the person who is coming to give us views, is someone who sees him/herself as a leader within the structures of UDA. People who are responsible to give suggestions on what to be done best,” she explained.

Conflict with law

“It is a way of engaging those at the grassroots level, we have said it is a bottom-up approach,” she added.

Ms Maina clarified that all elected leaders who are willing to join UDA will not be allowed to be part of the running of the party until February next year when they will not be in conflict with the law.

“They would be affected because the only time they can come to UDA will be in February 2022 and that is why we have asked for aspirants to attend and not the elected leaders. They (elected leaders) will have their slot later when the law allows them because we do not want conflict with another party,” Ms Maina said, apparently referring to the row with Jubilee Party.

According to Ms Maina, the elected Jubilee MPs who would like to join UDA cannot do so at the moment due to the conditions of Political Parties Act Clause 14 (5) that will deem them to have resigned from the previous political party.

According to the Elections Act, around February, parties intending to participate in the General Election due in August are required to submit their nomination rules.

The law requires the rules are submitted at least six months to the nomination of candidates.

For one to be eligible to contest in party primaries, one must be a member, which means UDA, like other parties, will be required to submit a party membership list in April- 120 days to the elections.

Nomination of candidates is 60 days to the elections. Jubilee rebels also seem to believe in February, they can challenge any expulsion from Jubilee in court through a protracted legal process that will see them hold onto their seats until elections.

Facing hurdles

The UDA is already facing hurdles after Jubilee wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties last week seeking to revoke a coalition agreement with the Party for Development and Reforms (PDR), which has been rebranded to UDA.

"We have found it improper and untenable to complete the formulation of the coalition. All the PDR officials engaged in coalition discussions have been changed and the new ones have exhibited hostility by actively fielding candidates in areas outside the original areas covered by (the) cooperation (agreement)," Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju told Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu in his letter.

As part of building the structures for the new party on whose ticket DP Ruto is expected to make his debut presidential run, his allies are working to help the UDA leadership constitute the party coordinators from the Constituency to County level ahead of June 18 grassroots polls.

MPs have been tasked with mobilising their supporters at the grassroots to resign from Jubilee and join UDA as well as opening County, constituency and ward offices.

For now, Soy MP Caleb Kositany and his Belgut MP counterpart Nelson Koech admitted that no elected leader will be participating in the scheduled party elections.
Instead proxies will be used to vie for different party positions.

“Someone like me cannot participate in the party elections because I am still a Jubilee member but those who are not elected and believe in hustler narrative will register as UDA members and take party positions,” said Mr Koech.

The handpicking of interim officials is causing conflict amid claims elected leaders are having an upper hand.

Party operations

For instance, in Uasin Gishu, the DP’s home turf, some youth yesterday accused Mr Kositany and his Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi of nominating their proxies to take charge of the party operations.

“If these two bigwigs will not desist from interfering with the affairs of UDA then as youth who believe in hustler narrative, we will not join that party because there is no way these MPs will be appointing those working in their Constituency offices to manage party,” Daudi Kemboi told a press conference in Eldoret.

A similar scenario was witnessed in Nakuru where a faction led by Senator Susan Kihika and rival one headed by Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri tussled for the control of UDA. At the centre of the storm is who should be the regional coordinator.

Cherang’any MP Joshua Kutuny, who was appointed to replace Mr Kositany as Jubilee deputy secretary general, has accused the DP, who is Jubilee’s deputy party leader, of financing a rival party- UDA- to kill the ruling party.

“Anyway, they are our opponents, they have formed another outfit that is fighting with Jubilee. Their existence in the Jubilee Party is untenable, we cannot continue keeping people who are killing the party from within, it is high time we sanitise the leadership of the party. We will go to any length to have the right people,” said Mr Kutuny.

Nyeri Town Ngunjiri Wambugu said the DP is already operating as the party leader of UDA, therefore, he cannot be allowed to be in two parties.

Mr Wambugu claimed that the DP has been using Jubilee’s information to propel UDA’s agenda especially in by-elections.

“When there is a competition and UDA is battling it out with Jubilee as we have seen, which side does he support? That’s the challenge we are facing. You find that we plan, strategise together and you find that Ruto is one of those being consulted on what the party should do, then he uses that inside information to disadvantage the party against UDA in other places,” claimed Mr Wambugu.

@onyangokonyango; [email protected]