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Kenyatta promises Gideon Moi Cabinet slots

Kanu chairman Gideon Moi has struck a deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta who will appoint him to the Cabinet if Kenyatta wins reelection.

Uhuru has been anxious that Kanu may not side with NASA, which could threaten his reelection. Kanu’s decision is also a blow to the opposition that wanted its help in gaining traction in the vote-rich Rift Valley. Yesterday, Kanu sources told the Star the deal was struck after the President and his Mother Mama Ngina separately visited retired President Daniel Moi. “The Mois wanted to negotiate with Kenyatta directly and get him to commit. That happened before a decision was announced yesterday,” a Kanu official familiar with the deal said. According to another source, apart from Cabinet slots, Kanu will also get a number of lucrative parastatal appointments and plum diplomatic slots. The former ruling party on Thursday officially threw its weight behind President Kenyatta’s reelection, just a day after the opposition announced a unity coalition. The decision by Kanu to support Kenyatta — but field candidates for all electoral positions — will complicate strategy for Deputy President William Ruto in Rift Valley.

Ruto and Moi, who is also Baringo senator, have been engaged in an open supremacy battle in the populous, strategic region.

Ruto had asked Gideon to fold up his party and merge with Jubilee. Other JP affiliates did so and their ex-leaders are now squabbling over positions and fearful of rigged primaries.

 

The party’s National Executive Council yesterday made the announcement by Kanu after seven hours of intense deliberations in Nakuru.

“After intense consultations, the party has agreed to support Uhuru’s bid in the August 8 general elections,” said Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat.

Gideon Moi chaired the meeting that out voted Salat who wanted the party to work with the opposition coalition NASA.

“I went around the country to ask views from party supporters. I can tell you almost all of them wanted the party to support Uhuru’s reelection,” said the Chairman.

Gideon said he will run for reelection on a Kanu ticket and disclose at a later date whether he will run for President in 2022.

Sources in the meeting said the agreement was reached after ‘wide and deep’ consultations with delegates.

“We voted after consultations. The majority who wanted the party to support Uhuru won. However, Salat was against it, as were two others. But the majority had their way,” said a source.

Both NASA and Jubilee have been wooing Kanu.

Retired President Daniel Moi when he was visited by Mama Ngina Kenyatta at his Kabarak home recently. /File

So intense, even desperate, has been the courtship that Mama Ngina visited Gideon’s father on January 18.

The meeting came to light through leaked photos after the two had lunch at Moi’s Kabarak home in Nakuru County.

Neither side disclosed details, however, the Star has learnt they discussed how their two sons could work together more closely before and after the August 8 polls.

Uhuru and Gideon share a longtime friendship, as do their families. They even attended St Mary’s School Nairobi at the same time.

In the new arrangement, Kanu will field candidates for Senator, MP, woman rep and MCAs in August.

Jubilee will not field a candidate for Gideon’s Baringo Senate seat.

Kanu will be expected to work with Jubilee in Parliament.

The Ruto-Gideon battle for Rift Valley was the major reason Kanu had not decided on supporting Uhuru.

The DP’s dealings with the senator are considered too confrontational and unhelpful in mending relations between Kanu and Jubilee.

Last year, Ruto hosted Baringo MCAs in Nairobi as he strategized on taming Gideon’s influence.

On January 11, at the Bomas of Kenya, Salat declared Kanu was firmly in the opposition and would be close to NASA.

“Mimi kama katibu mkuu wa Kanu nawahakikishia kwamba tuko ndani kabisaa (As the secretary general of Kanu I want to assure you that we are fully part of NASA,” he said.

But two members of the Kanu national executive council, Lonyangapuo and nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony, disowned Salat’s declaration.

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