Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The war of words between ODM and PNU occasioned by the controversial Kamukunji election results went a notch higher, threatening to erupt into another test of unity for the Grand Coalition.
Kamukunji appeared to provide another forum for eruption of undercurrents of pent up anger and rivalry that have rocked the coalition since it was formed in April.

PNU and ODM principals, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, have tactfully avoided plunging into coalition battles, but party officials have gone at one other’s throats with no holds barred. ODM took on PNU yesterday, branding the Kamukunji results "another stolen election", saying it may jolt the grand coalition agreement. But PNU told ODM to move to court if it felt aggrieved and stop throwing "blanket" blame for a decision prompted by a court order.

The war of words between top party officials from both sides was reminiscent of the showdown soon after the announcement of the disputed presidential results on December 30, plunging the country into a wave of violence that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.

The eruption on Tuesday was an escalation of protests by ODM that followed the Monday announcement of PNU’s Simon Mbugua as the winner in Kamukunji. Results for the constituency in the last General Election were not announced. But a court recently ruled that the ECK had no powers to cancel an election and ordered the electoral body to tally the results and announce the winner.

The party alleged that its political rival-cum-coalition partner PNU robbed them of the seat in disregard of democratic principles and the court order.

Party Secretary-General Anyang’ Nyong’o, who is also the Medical Services minister, delivered a stern warning that the future of the coalition was at risk following the Kamkunji events.

"If PNU is not sincere in its arrangement with ODM and continues to steal elections using the police force, we will simply pull out. We are not mincing our words," said an angry Prof Nyong’o at a Press conference at Orange House, the party headquarters in Nairobi.