Party of National Unity

Political Party

Summary

Party of National Unity (PNU)

Founded: 16th September 2007

Key Figures: Mwai Kibaki, George Saitoti

PNU was founded as a political coalition of parties in Kenya. On September 16, 2007, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced the party formation and said that he would run as its presidential candidate in the December 2007 Kenyan elections. It has since become a political party in its own right following conditions set by the Political Parties Act, passed in Kenya in 2008.

The PNU started out as a coalition of several parties, including the KANU, Narc-Kenya, FORD-Kenya, FORD-People, Democratic Party, Shirikisho, National Alliance Party of Kenya and others. President Mwai Kibaki was to be the only personal member of PNU besides the corporate membership through the affiliated parties.

PNU was created shortly before the elections that were held in December 2007. Until the beginning of September it was not clear on which party's ticket the president was going to run. In the 2002 elections, Kibaki ran as the candidate of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), which had since split. The erstwhile original NARC was legally in the hands of its chairperson Charity Ngilu who showed no inclination of siding with Kibaki for a renewed bid. Kibakis allies had already pulled out of NARC and founded NARC-Kenya which was not on good terms with a number of important politicians in Kibaki's government of National Unity which had seen the intake of erstwhile opposition figures since 2005 who held on to their parties like KANU or FORD-Kenya.

Poor political preparation of the new party became obvious in the process of nomination for parliamentary seats. Initially, PNU member parties agreed to field parliamentary and civic candidates under PNU, except KANU, which was permitted to field its own candidates. However, this agreement failed to materialise. As a result, some candidates -mainly from Kibaki's former Democratic Party- contested under PNU ticket and others under their respective parties. In a number of constituencies PNU-affiliated candidates were contesting against each other for the same parliamentary seat.

PNU fared poorly in the parliamentary elections 2007 reaching only 43 seats against nearly 99 for its main rival, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Together with affiliated parties, however, it could command around 78 members of parliament.

On February 28, 2008 through a mediation team headed by former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, the PNU government reached a deal with the ODM to share power. ODM is headed by Raila Odinga. The power sharing deal was the first one of its kind in Africa.

Since the 2007 elections, PNU has since registered as a political party in its own right with George Saitoti selected as chairman and Mwai Kibaki as party leader, much to the dismay of several of its coalition partners. Structure

When founded, in 2007, the party membership consisted of Mwai Kibaki as the sole individual member, with all other parties within the coalition having corporate membership. However, in mid 2008 the party embarked on a membership drive and grassroots elections in order to create structures to function as a political party in its own right. Though an attempt to get the affiliate political parties to merge into PNU failed.

The party leadership structure consists of a Party Leader, National Chairman, Secretary-General, and provincial chairpersons.

Taken from this Wikipedia article.

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