January 30, 2022


In case you need a refresher of who will be playing and/or has played in this arena since Independence, here is a rundown.

More by Rieko Mwenyewe

A guide to Kenya’s political parties 2022

A guide to Kenya’s political parties 2022

It’s that time of the political showcase in Kenya. We are perhaps one of the special countries in which political parties sprout and die like desert plants, each campaign cycle. The race for power, which will culminate in the general election due on the 9th of August, is no different.

It can be difficult to keep track of all the players, so in case you need a refresher of who will be playing and/or has played in this arena since Independence, here is a rundown.

1. United Democratic Alliance (UDA)

A new Party known as United Democratic Alliance, (UDA) was formed just a few months ago. The Party was registered earlier with a different name, Party of Development and Reforms (PDR) in 2012 by Raphael Tuju. He then handed it over to Deputy President William Arap Ruto, who intends to use it for 2022 General Elections as UDA. The most interesting thing is that Ruto is the current Deputy President of Kenya. Talk about alliances falling apart.

Ruto’s chairman is Johnstone Muthama, former Senator of Machakos. William Samoe Arap Ruto has campaigned since March 2018, he hopes to win the forth coming General Elections in 2022 and become Number 5. This, in my opinion, is unlikely to happen.

2. Kenya African National Union (KANU)

The oldest political Party in Kenya is the Kenya African National Union Party (KANU,) also known as Baba na Mama Party. The Party was first registered in 1961. James Gichuru was the first chairman. Before changing the name to Kenya African National Union, and Jomo Kenyatta, at the behest of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, picked James Gichuru as chairman, the party was known as the Kanya African Union (KAU). It was formed in 1944.

KANU ruled Kenya under the first president Jomo Kenyatta for 15 Years and President Daniel Arap Moi for 24 Years. The great cockerel has however struggled since the Late Moi stepped down from power. This time, its crow will likely only be felt by aligning with another like-minded party to stay relevant.

3. Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD), Ford Kenya, Ford Asili

When the multi-party system was introduced in 1992, after the amendment of Chapter 2(a), which had deemed Kenya a single party government, a party known as the Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD) became a player in the Kenyan political scene. The party had actually been formed earlier in 1991. The originators of the party included Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Charles Rubia, Kenneth Nyindo Matiba, James Orengo, Itubo Imanyara, Martin Shikuku and Nthenge Njeru.

The party was vibrant and it was evident that it was going to remove KANU from forming the Government in the coming General Elections in December 1992. The powers that be, had to ensure this didn’t happen. Kenneth Matiba and Charlis Rubia were arrested in 1992. Matiba, while in detention suffered a stroke and was flown out to the United Kingdom for treatment. When Kenneth Matiba returned, the rivalry between him and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga gave room for the government of the day, KANU, to register two different parties, Ford Kenya led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, deputised by William Kijana Wamalwa and Ford Asili led by Kenneth Matiba, deputised by Martin Shikuku. Later Ford People led by Semeon Nyachaye was formed. KANU went ahead to win the elections. The competing players were too scattered to oust the King of the day.

4. National Development Party (NDP)

When Jaramogi Oginga Odinga passed on in April1994, he left the Ford Kenya party to William Wamalwa Kijana as the party leader. Raila Amolo Odinga was not amused, he tried to snatch the party from Wamalwa Kijana and when he failed, he bolted and formed his own party, named the National Development Party (NDP) . The party was owned by Stephen Omondi Oludhe in 1994 who sold it to Raila. Raila contested afresh, under this banner and retained his seat at the Parliament. National Development Party lasted until 2001.

5. Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)

When Raila realised that National Democratic Party was not taking him anywhere, he formed Liberal Democratic Party in 2002, which he dissolved to join Kenya African National Union of President Daniel Arap Moi. Raila was appointed the Secretary General of KANU. When the merger of LDP and KANU did not work, Raila left KANU and formed a new party named the National Rainbow Coalition and declared the famous ‘Kibaki Tosha’ slogan.

Mwai Kibaki was eventually nominated by NARC as the bearer of the Presidential Ticket and won the only non-contested General Elections result in Kenya, in December 2002. But the National Rainbow Coalition Party did not last long. It was later taken over by Martha Wangare Karua who changed it to Narc Kenya and used it in 2013 General Elections as a Presidential candidate. She came in a poor sixth. Narc Kenya remains one of the smallest parties in Kenya, run by a single person.

6. National Rainbow Coalition (NARC)

This is the party that President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Amolo Odinga formed to win 2002 General Elections. The party did not go far since Raila Amolo Odinga disagreed with President Mwai Kibali and for December 2007, Raila Amolo Odinga formed a major political party named the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). It had the famous ‘Pentagon’ which comprised of Raila Amolo Odinga, William Samoe Ruto, Jeremiah Nyaga, Musalia Mudavadi, Najib Balala, Charity Ngilu and Moses Wetangula.

7. Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)

The General Elections of 2007 caused mayhem in Kenya, after a highly contested result leading to the post election violence (PEV) which caused the death of over 1300 people, and the displacement of around 65,000 Kenyans. Camps of internally displaced people (IDPs) sprouted around the country, with Kenyans witnessing scenes many never imagined would happen on Kenyan soil. It was one of Kenya’s darkest hours; a lesson on how lethal two warring powers can be.

ODM still exists today and is working on ways of joining other like minded parties for 2022 General Elections.

8. Wiper Democratic Party

When Stephen Kalonzo Mushioka could not agree with Raila Amolo Odinga, he decided to split the Orange Democratic Party into two, and formed the Orange Democratic Kenya Party, ODM (K). It was later changed to the Wiper Democratic Party, which he used to run for President in the 2007 General Elections.

He came in third. Stephen Kalonzo, also known as ‘Watermelon’ made history when he accepted to be Vice-President for Mwai Kibaki in the 2007 disputed General Elections. Many thought it an indication that he had no real stand in the political arena. Later, in 2010, when it is claimed he publicly supported the ‘green team’ who were fighting for the new constitution, yet secretly wanted the ‘red team’, opposing the constitution to win, he was brandished with the nickname Watermelon. Time will tell which side he will play on during the upcoming elections.

9. Amani National Congress (ANC)

AMANI National Congress was formed by Musalia Mudavadi after he fell out with Raila Amolo Odinga post 2007. He contested under this banner during the 2013 General Elections and came in third, behind Raila’s ODM and Uhuru’s TNA, which had been joined by William Ruto’s UDP. TNA and UDP, as Jubilee, took the win during those elections.

Later in 2017, ANC joined Ford Kenya, Wiper Party and ODM to form NASA which once again fell short to Jubilee, the winning team that year.

10. Jubilee Party

The Jubilee Party was formed in late 2012 by folding other small parties including United Democratic Party (UDP) of William Samoe Ruto and The National Party (TNA) of Uhuru Kenyatta. Twelve other parties also folded up. The party was used for the General Elections of 2013 and 2017 with Uhuru Kenyatta as the party leader and William Ruto as the deputy party leader. Rumour has it that William Ruto may be removed from the post of deputy party leader.

Jubilee is now in the process of joining other parties for the 2022 General Election. The name is still not yet known but it may be called “Asimiyo Ya Umoja Alliance Party” (AYUAP). It is currently being promoted all over the country by Raila Amolo Odinga.

11. One Kenya Alliance (OKA)

As the National Super Alliance (NASA), was being made redundant, Wycliff Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi and Moses Wetangula formed the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) which they hoped would be a strong contender to Ruto’s UDA, Jubilee and the newly formed Asimiyo Ya Umoja. As it turns out, OKA is on the brink of collapse since Mudavadi and Wetangula are intending to join Ruto at UDA.
It would follow that Gideon and Musyoka would then rally behind Asimiyo, but that waits to be seen.

12. Asimyo Ya Umoja

When the High Court of Kenya and the Court of Appeal dismissed the BBI Initiative, the Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga started the doctrine of Asimiyo Ya Umoja, which was meant to unite all Kenyans to form a single-stream team for the 2022 General Elections. The idea was to a coalition of like-minded parties like Jubilee, which had weakened by the formation of United Democratic Alliance. Raila Amolo Odinga traversed the country and it seems, at last, his intention has borne fruit in the powerful vehicle; ‘A Declaration of Unity’.

The Jubillee Party, the Orange Democratic Movement and One Kenya Alliance (consisting of Musyoka and Gideon) is the alliance that will be the ones to beat come August 2022. Similar to the alliance that formed the National Rainbow Coalition in 2002 and NASA in 2017, if they put their house in order and name a popular candidate, who is famed to be the Rt. Hon. Former Prime Minister, they may take the day. Raila is already being touted as Number 5.

It should be noted that since KANU was defeated in 2002, no party has been used more than once to win the General Elections in Kenya. In 2002 it was NARC, in 2007 it was PNU, in 2013 it was TNA, in 2017 it was the Jubilee Party.

Which one will it be in 2022? The only way we decide that, is by voting.


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