Monday, October 15, 2007

Maathai censures parties over ‘individualism’

Published on October 15, 2007, 12:00 am

By Samuel Otieno

Nobel Peace laureate Prof Wangari Maathai has warned that the nomination wrangles that have rocked the Party of National Unity (PNU) may harm President Kibaki’s re-election campaign.

Maathai cautioned parties affiliated to the President against sending out negative signals.

"The perception is that some of the parties under PNU are arrogant, dishonest, selfish, secretive and unreliable," She said.

Maathai, who is also the chairperson of the Green Party of Kenya — an affiliate of PNU — also demanded an explanation as to why some parties in the alliance are opting to present civic and parliamentary candidates, adding that going separate ways will not necessarily deliver the desired goal.

"We need to know the reasons why parties like Kanu, Shirikisho, New Ford Kenya, and Safina, to mention but a few, are opting to go it alone." she said.

She further told PNU members to learn from history.

"The ideal situation would probably have been that all Kibaki-friendly parties go it alone, or, all of them present themselves to a primary process like we did in Narc in 2002," she said.

She said that parties that were engaging in these practices were fronting their leaders. They also wanted their leaders to be excluded from competitive nominations at the constituency level and allow them to receive nomination certificates directly.

She said this would mean that the rest of the candidates from other parties not privy to these schemes and who have, therefore, not been anointed would not even have a chance to compete. "That is completely unfair. People want free and fair nominations," she said.

She said the same parties are ensuring that civic and parliamentary candidates from their parties will equally receive nomination certificates irrespective of the results of the nomination process.

Maathai said there are accusations that some of the parties have signed secret Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) whose content is unknown to the other parties.

"There is also the concern that the registered constitution of PNU remains a secret. Who are the owners of PNU? Why is the constitution unavailable to prospective members and candidates?" she posed.

She added that there was the perception that PNU-based aspiring candidates would sign forms which would prevent them from seeking nomination through other parties if they lost through PNU.

"It would appear that parties are being driven apart by perceptions of mistrust and suspicions," she said.


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