The United Democratic Alliance – a party associated with Deputy President William Ruto – has formally been registered.
The launching however could only mean a full-scale rebellion against President Kenyatta by his Deputy.
It is the clearest indication that Ruto’s hustler movement is determined to dump the ruling Jubilee Party, ahead of next year’s general election.
Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu confirmed the successful name change and registration UDA, formerly Party of Development and Reform (PDR). In the gazette notice published on Monday, the party also sought to change its symbol from a bull to a wheelbarrow with Kazi Ni Kazi as its slogan.
“The registrar of political parties takes note of the decision taken by your party and the changes effected on January 7, 2021, upon the expiry of the statutory period in line with Section 20(3A) of the PPA,” Nderitu said.
In a letter to PDR secretary-general, Nderitu said that her office had received submissions from Khalid Njiraini Tianga who objected to the use of UDA but later withdrew the reservations.
PDR had issued a public notice of intention to change its name to UDA and its symbol to a wheelbarrow – Ruto’s hustler nation signature slogan.
With the registrar’s green-light, the UDA started an aggressive rebranding campaign including acquiring a spacious office at Kilimani’s Makindi Road called Hustler’s Centre.
Ruto’s allies expressed excitement with the successful change of name as they shared photos of the new offices under renovation.
“It’s now official, the new baby in town is UnDA formerly PDR which was born again,” Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen tweeted.
It appears that the DP’s strategists schemed to beat the strict laws barring them from associating with a different political party by acquiring PDR which is in a coalition agreement with Jubilee.
Murkomen, in his tweet, made it clear that those associating with the new UDA party face no legal danger.
“For now UnDA is a Jubilee Coalition member with highest office holder in Parliament being the Senate Deputy Majority Leader,” Murkomen said
Interestingly, this is the 6th life of the new party as it has been recycled five times since its formation in 2012.
PDR – Party of Development and Reforms was established as the Party of Action (POA) in February 2012 by Hillary Yegon in order to contest the 2013 general elections. It later formed an electoral pact with the Kenya National Congress (KNC) for the 2013 general elections, which was formalized as the Eagle Alliance. The alliance nominated the KNC’s Peter Kenneth as its presidential candidate.
In the elections, Kenneth finished fourth in the presidential contest with 0.6% of the vote. The Party of Action failed to win a parliamentary seat, receiving less than 0.05% of the vote.
Prior to the 2017 general elections, the party has renamed the Party of Reforms and Development. In the elections, the PDR endorsed incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, also winning four seats in the National Assembly and one in the Senate.
However, allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta said the DP and his diehards had left the ruling party long ago and unveiling of the UDA is a clear indication that they are fed up with Jubilee.
“They walked out of the Jubilee Party a while back and they are just in associating with it because leaving officially would cost them their positions,” said Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu.
Be that as it may, the overwhelming and overriding expectation of any leadership change must remain not tribe-centered but focused on the interests of all Kenyans, and all of us have a responsibility, this being a matter of compelling public interest.
History will harshly judge those behind the rekindling of tribal machinations, in the name of the now-infamous Hustler Nation movement.