United Democratic Alliance chairman Johnston Muthama has said his party is now ready for grassroots and the 2022 general elections after concluding two -week marathon meetings with aspirants from the 47 counties.
In an interview with the Star on Friday, the former Machakos senator said, “UDA has grown exponentially within a short period attracting millions of Kenyans”.
“The growth and interest Kenyans have expressed in our party is amazing. We are now in every party of Kenya. We have aspirants who have registered from all the 47 counties,” he said.
Muthama said UDA, a party believed to be Deputy President William Ruto’s vehicle to State House in next year’s presidential race, used the just concluded meetings to explain to aspirants the ideologies, manifesto and it’s constitution in the build up to the grassroots election set for July.
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He stated that the meetings are part of the wider plan to ensure that the economic blueprints being proposed by supporters of the Deputy President are well captured in the final manifesto to be unveiled by Ruto in December.
“Our agenda is the bottom-up economic model which will ensure that the common Kenyans are empowered. UDA is about giving hope to ordinary people and that is why we have been clear in our meetings with aspirants that we must live to the promises we make,” he said.
The meetings with aspirants kicked off in Nairobi on May 20 and it brought together the registered delegates from city, Murang’a, Wajir, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, Makueni, Mandera, Kitui and Kirinyaga.
The second cluster which took place in Vihiga county on May 24 brought aspirants from the host county, Migori, Kisii, Kisumu, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Siaya and Nyamira.
On May 25, UDA hosted aspirants from the counties of Uasin Gishu, Turkana, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia and Nandi who converged in Eldoret town.
On May 27 , UDA officials held a meeting with aspirants from from Kericho, Bomet, Baringo, Narok, Nyandarua and those from the host county of Nakuru.
After the Nakuru meeting, the UDA officials headed to Meru county on May 31 where the officials met aspirants from Tharaka Nithi, Marsabit, Isiolo, Embu, Samburu and Laikipia.
On Thursday, the UDA caravan was in Mombasa county where they met aspirants from the host county, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale and Tana River.
The forums in Meru and Mombasa were disrupted by police on grounds that they were violating the coronavirus containment protocols.
However, the rest of the meetings went on smoothly.
Muthama accused government of applying double standards and misusing police in implementation of the protocols which among other things, has prohibited political gatherings.
“In Meru and Mombasa police said they received instructions from Nairobi to disperse our meetings . It is unfortunate that police have surrendered their constitutional independence to some people to misuse them for political reasons,” he said.
He said preparations and logistics for the grassroots election have been rolled out saying that the elections will give members a bigger say in the affairs of the party.
“We are out to do things differently from the way other political parties have been doing. We want our members to own the party right from grassroots to the national level,” he said.
UDA is expected to hold its grassroots elections in early July to elect ward, constituency and county officials while the national ones will be picked by members during a National Delegates Congress.
According to the UDA constitution that was unveiled in March, there will be a party leader who will have three deputies-in charge of administration, political affairs and programmes and strategy.
There will also be a national chairperson who will also have three deputies in charge of operations, political affairs and programmes and strategy.
The same has been replicated in the positions of the secretary general, national organising secretary and the national treasurer who will each have three assistants.
UDA, formerly the Party of Development and Reform (PDR), which is in coalition with the Jubilee Party, is yet to be formally be launched since it underwent re-branding early in January.
Muthama said in the coming days, they will be announcing the number of registered members so far in the ongoing mass membership drive.
“Registration of members is going on at the ward, constituency and county level. WE also have an online registration portal which is active. Kenyans in huge numbers are registered,” he said.