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PNU WRANGLES AND FAILURES.

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Denzel Musumba

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Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is under fire for playing partisan politics in central Kenya while appealing for political unity. His constant appeal for unity is aimed at averting split of the region’s vote in 2012, similar to the 1992 split between President Kibaki and Kenneth Matiba. Uhuru took sides in the Juja by-election in which former PNU Chief Whip George Thuo lost to Mr William Kabogo of Narc-Kenya. Uhuru backed Thuo, and dragged in his PNU ally Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka in a last-minute show of might and support that came a cropper. The outcome made Thuo’s fall dramatic, and Kabogo’s victory heroic. The loss was the greatest for Uhuru, who in some quarters is viewed as de facto deputy leader, after President Kibaki, in Central Kenya politics. Uhuru is also touted to inherit Kibaki’s leadership mantle, but the Gichugu MP Martha Karua is expected to challenge him for that role, and the by-elections wsere a test drive. It now emerges Uhuru may have blundered by campaigning for Thuo, in the process putting his rating on the line. Partisan politics By plunging into partisan local politics, at a time when nothing was at stake for him –– his personal, political stature, or the larger PNU fraternity interest –– he only succeeded in planting seeds of discord in a community to whom he preaches unity. "It was not necessary. The showdown only gave Karua and Peter Kenneth an opportunity to bloody his nose and humiliate him. He exposed himself to accusations of double-speak. How can he preach unity, while promoting his friends?" posed a commentator who did not wish to be named. Kenneth supported Ms Alice Ng’ang’a after PNU gave Thuo a direct ticket. Naivasha MP John Mututho says Uhuru blundered by campaigning for Thuo. "Uhuru is my friend and my leader, but he must learn to separate friendship –– me included –– from broader leadership responsibilities in the region and country," he says.

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