In Kenya, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) says it will enter next month’s by-elections alone, if the main opposition party, KANU, is not prepared to negotiate a deal. KANU Chairman Uhuru Kenyatta recently announced that the party will field its own candidates from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). This statement garnered condemnation from leading members of the ODM, who believe the party is disintegrating. The chairman of the LDP, David Musilia, spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey and explained why there seems to be a division in the ODM.
“During the referendum, which we won, we had an arrangement with KANU and other parties to work together. After the referendum we formed a loose alliance known as the Orange Democratic Movement (the orange was the movement’s symbol in the election). And we had an understanding that we would be conducting our future elections under that banner. Now there has been change within KANU thinking, and our understanding is that they would want to go at it alone. However, we are still interested in working together with them and in the Orange Democratic Movement in order that we may capture the by-election since these are parliamentary and civic.”
He explained why there seems to be a division in the ODM. “There is a faction within KANU that supports the ODM and we can tell you for certain that there is another faction led by the chair (man) of KANU that is opposed to that arrangement. But this was a loose agreement to work together. And we know that it may not be able to work. And this is why we are saying we will not sit idle [waiting] for these negotiations to work. We are ready to go at it alone just as KANU prepares to going at it alone. But hopefully in future, particularly towards the election of 2007, we hope to find an understanding.”
He discussed the strategies the LDP will employ in the upcoming elections. ”We will perhaps just go at it alone; we are not strong admittedly in some of the areas particularly the northern areas. Those have been predominantly KANU seats but all the same we would still field candidates in those areas. But we may not be very hopeful; however, in Nakuru we have a very strong following and are almost certain that we would be able to win the Nakuru seat.”
Let us know what you think of this report and other stories on our website. Send your views to AFRICA@VOANEWS.COM, and include your phone number. Or, call us here in Washington, DC at (202) 205-9942. After you hear the VOA identification, press 30 to leave a message. We want to hear what you have to say!