By Theoneste Asiimwe

Research East and Horn of Africa, GLCSS

As the general election in 2007 approaches, speculation regarding other political alliances being formed has surfaced. Three cabinet ministers Charity Ngilu, Musikari Kombo and Simeon Nyachae of National Party of Kenya (NPK), Ford-Kenya and Ford People reportedly met to discuss the formation of a third political alliance as an alternative to the National Rainbow Coalition – Kenya (NARC-K) and the Orange Democratic Movement – Kenya (ODM-K) in the 2007 polls. This confirms previous GLCSS’s analysis that in addition to NARC-K and ODM-K, other political alliances could be formed.
Unconfirmed reports say the new alliance is considering three options. First, President Kibaki could be fielded as the alliance’s presidential torch bearer. Second, one of the three architects of the alliance could become the 2007 presidential candidate and third, an ODM- K top gun lured to their side could be their candidate.
The creation of a new political alliance comes amid Ngilu’s reiteration that NARC-K is a poorly camouflaged reincarnation of DP, a charge which did not go well with the party’s interim officials like Assistant Minister of Education Beth Mugo. Kombo was also recently quoted saying that a new political force was about to be “born”. The development also follows last week’s events where President Kibaki chaired a meeting at the State House to explore the establishment of a political vehicle to articulate the political vision of the Government of National Unity (GNU).
If the reports turn out to be true, GLCSS believes the new alliance will prove to be a formidable force in the 2007 poll. Charity Ngilu has been an influential politician and GLCSS has reported in the past that she has been very instrumental in holding NARC together.
 

Ngilu has headed the Maenbeleo ya Wanawake organization, the national women’s movement since 1989. This gives her a strong backing from Kenyan women. Simeon Nyachae and his Ford-People party came third in the 2002 elections with 5.9 percent. Nyachae has followers among the Kisii community in Western Kenya and he is said to have significant financial resources.  Although he might be too old to contest in the 2007 polls, his financial support could be an important factor. Also, Kombo’s influence in Luhya in the Western Province and in Trans Nzoia districts can create a political imbalance amongst other forces.
In summary, GLCSS notes that Kenya’s political future remains uncertain given that a compromise on the question of the constitutional review has not been reached. Whereas ODM-K is pushing for minimum constitutional reforms before next year’s general elections, Kibaki and his supporters dismiss it and instead insist that it is best for Kenya to hold the reforms after the elections. This political atmosphere is further complicated by ODM-K‘s delay in choosing its presidential candidate, which would enhance its political viability.
William Church is director of the Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank with offices in Central and East Africa. You may contact William Church at wchurch@glcss.org. GLCSS trains African journalists, offers an on-site internship to foreign African studies students, and manages an exchange program with journalists from the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.

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