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December 03, 2012

Kenya PM, VP Parties to Form Alliance

by Peter Clottey

In Kenya, three political parties, including those of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, plan to officially announce an agreement to form a coalition Tuesday ahead of the March 4 elections. 

Officials of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM), and Ford Kenya parties have decided to join forces in the run up to the election.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has declared Tuesday as the deadline for political parties to form coalitions for next year’s vote.

“We have come to a clear confirmed agreement of a coalition according to the Political Parties Act. We have worked on the details and the signing ceremony will be Tuesday,” said legislator Johnstone Muthama, a leading member of the WDM.

“This coalition is not about Raila and Kalonzo and is not about sharing the positions in the government and other departments,” continued Muthama, “We decided to go that way for once for Kenyans to see that Kenyans can speak about one country, about one people, and they can kill this animal called tribalism.”
 
Some Kenyans blame tribal politics as one of the elements that contributed to the 2007-2008 post-election violence. The violence led to an estimated 1,300 deaths and displaced about 180,000.

Vice president Musyoka called for an end to ethnic-based politics.

“Tribalism is becoming stronger now than during the 2007 general election, [but] after we sign the agreement [Tuesday], Kenyans will then know who true reformers are in this country,” said Musyoka.

Muthama says the formation of the alliance will help begin the process of reducing ethnic divisions and tension in Kenya’s politics.

Analysts say the coalition of the prime minister and the vice president will face stiff challenges from other coalitions in next year’s vote.

But Muthama says prospects for the new alliance look good.

“The prospects are that we are going to win the election in round one. There [are] no taking chances on this and we are going to deliver to Kenyans the kind of government that they have been expecting and looking for,” he said.

He said the alliance will soon form one main political party to contest next year’s vote.

Clottey interview with Legislator Johnstone Muthama, of WDM party