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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Storm in TNA as MPs demand change at top

Our Reporter

All is not well in the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party TNA. A serious power struggle is now threatening to split the party with MPs from the Mount Kenya region now plotting a coup against the national officials.
Last week, over 25 MPs allied to the party demanded that the national office should convene a parliamentary group meeting to iron out burning issues. Sources well versed with the coup plot divulged that the group is targeting the party’s secretary general Onyango Oloo and secretary general Johnson Sakajja.
Leading the onslaught is the Kieni MP Kanini Kega who has now come out publicly to demand for the resignation of Oloo and Sakajja. Sources say almost all TNA MPs are supporting their removal with others claiming that party elections are long overdue and that they were holding the positions in interim basis.
Investigations reveal that the 25 MPs had held a secret meeting in the outskirts of Nairobi where they unanimously agreed that Oloo and Sakajja must give up their positions to pave way for fresh leadership ahead of the 2017 elections.
Sources further divulged that failure by Oloo and Sakajja to convene a parliamentary group meeting as requested by the MPs, they will then be left with no option but to call one by themselves and the main agenda will be to oust them and install new leadership awaiting party elections.
During the secret meeting, the MPs gave the national office notice to call the PGM failure to which they will hold the meeting without involving them.
We have information that the MPs mostly from the Mount Kenya region are not comfortable with Oloo as the party’s chairman. Apart from what they term as lukewarm performance, they also claim that TNA should be chaired by someone from the region where the party enjoys massive following.
Oloo comes from Kisumu in Luo Nyanza which is ODM’s political stronghold. There have been arguments that Oloo’s presence in the party does not add any numerical value since his Luo ethnic community is solidly behind ODM and Raila Odinga. It is against such feelings that MPs from the Kikuyu community want one of their own to chair the party which enjoys massive following in Central Kenya.
Sakajja is also being targeted for removal. It is not, however, known if his replacement and that of Oloo had been identified. Sources, however, say that the Central Kenya MPs want the chairman to be from the region and secretary general from the Embu, Meru region. Those pushing for Sakajja’s removal say that as nominated MP, he should also not hold the position of party’s spokesman.
But politically, the MPs who have been pushing this agenda are just playing their 2017 political cards so that they can have direct control of the 2017 nomination process. The MPs are said to be now focused to 2017 and by having one of their own in charge of the national office, they know they can easily manipulate and compromise the nomination process hence assurance of defending their seats in 2017 comfortably.
But even as the MPs plot the ouster of Oloo and Sakajja, we have also gathered that the two have also been involved in a secret power struggle with Sakajja accusing Oloo of plotting to topple him as party chairman.
The conflict began from the nomination to the National Assembly of Sakajja, prompting demands from Onyango that being a state officer the law requires him to relinquish the post.
They also say that Sakajja who comes from Mt Elgon region does not add any value to the party since he could not use his influence as the party’s spokesman to win even civic or parliamentary seats for the party.
But unconfirmed reports further indicate that some close allies of Uhuru are secretly involved in the removal of Sakajja and are secretly working with Oloo. The team has been piling pressure on Sakajja that he can remain the party chairman so long as he relinquishes his position as a nominated MP, but he cannot be both. It is now emerging that individuals who helped Uhuru to establish TNA in 2012 are demanding full control of the party.
We have also gathered that the MPs have laid down new party strategies and leadership structure. The fear now is that Oloo and Sakajja who are the only ones mandated to call PGM know so well that such meetings are likely to be counter productive since the main agenda will be definitely to kick them out of office.
Other sources claim that Oloo and Sakajja have failed to account for funds the party raised during last election’s nomination process and also the funding from the party from the exchequer. There have been claims that the millions raised during the party’s primaries were mismanaged and that tens of millions cannot be accounted for.
Another area that the MPs are said to be demanding an answer is why the party’s secretariat has not been supporting TNA candidates during by-elections. Sources say the party has not funded its candidates in by-elections resulting in dismal performance. It is against such allegations that the MPs have decided that it was high time a change of guard at the party’s headquarters was affected.
When the matter was first flouted, both Oloo and Sakajja were overheard bragging that they formed the party in 2012 and are in office legally for five years and that they will only leave office in 2017 upon expiry of their term. Some MPs and party supporters have been pushing for party elections but this has never seen the light of the day.
There are those who fear that if TNA holds party elections now, then it is most likely to lead to a fall out and the beneficiary from such a fall out would be their political opponents Cord.
There is also pressure that a new elections board be constituted and current one disbanded. Sources say TNA MPs are not comfortable with the current board as constituted and are now piling pressure that a new one be constituted to oversee the 2017 elections.