Nairobi, September 13
Deputy President William Ruto has come under a sharp crisis over his recent remarks asking political parties to fold up and join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Mr Ruto, who is the de facto leader of the UDA party, popularly known as the Hustler Nation, has been on recording asking those willing to join his political side to dissolve their parties and join UDA in order to create a party with a formidable force.
The call by Mr Ruto, is akin the move by the Jubilee-affiliate parties that saw more than fifteen political parties dissolve in 2017 to form the present day Jubilee Party that propelled Mr Ruto and his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, to State House for the second time.
However, unlike in 2017 where parties dissolved with ease, things seem to have taken a different turn with leaders from Mt Kenya making it clear that they will not be forced into dissolution.
NARC Kenya leader, Martha Karua, has accused Mr Ruto of trying to take the country back to a one-party state by asking political parties to dissolve in order to join UDA.
Ms Karua, who was speaking in Murang'a on Sunday, September 12, said the move was rather dictatorial and will draw back the democratic gains made by the country over the years.
On the other hand, former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary and The Service Party (TSP) leader, Mwangi Kiunjuri, asked the Deputy President to let parties be.
"We have 75 fully registered political parties. They meet legal requirements that include drawing membership and leadership from a majority of counties. World over parties grow from particular strongholds, specific issues, and through multiple elections, can become formidable," state Mr Kiunjuri.
He noted that political parties that were previously viewed as strong and having a national outlook died shortly after elections, pointing out that this was dangerous for democracy.
"Some recent history: So called national parties have come and gone. In 1992 was the great FORD. In 2002 was NARC. In 2008 was PNU, in 2017 was the mother of all parties, Jubilee, likely to go the way of others."
"Ask yourself, do parties become national merely because they have presidential candidates? Wacha vyama vikue (Let parties be) and let the people decide," he added.
Mr Kiunjuri, who has been a supporter of Mr Ruto especially after being kicked out of the Cabinet unceremoniously, says the more the political parties, the more democratic choices at the disposal of the voters.
"It is about voters having the right to choose, whatever their reasons. Be wise," he concluded.