Party of National Unity (Kenya)

Party of National Unity
Leader HE Mwai Kibaki
Chairman John Kamama
Secretary-General John Okemwa Anunda[1]
Vice Chairman Aireen Muronji
Organising Secretary Hon Alphonse Musyoka
Founder Mwai Kibaki
Founded September 2007
Ideology Conservatism
Political position Right-wing
Slogan Kazi iendelee

Party of National Unity (PNU) was founded as a political coalition of parties in Kenya. On 16 September 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.[2] 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.[3]

2007 Elections

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.[4] 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.[5] 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 28 February 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.

2008 Onwards

After the 2007 elections, PNU was registered as a political party in its own right, George Saitoti served as chairman, till his death in 2012, while Mwai Kibaki was party leader until his retirement from politics, much to the dismay of several of its coalition partners.[6][7] In October 2012, the party's National Executive Committee entered a tentative election pact with TNA, where it would surrender the right to field individual candidates in the 2013 in exchange for supporting Uhuru Kenyatta's presidential bid.[8] This marked the beginning of the end of the party, as without any candidates in any office in Kenyan politics, lack of funds and multiple overdue debts, the party was de-registered in October 2014.[9]


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 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[10] The party leadership structure consists of a Party Leader, National chairman, Secretary-General, and provincial chairpersons.[11][12]


  1. , p. 8 Daily Nation, 17 March 2012
  2. PNU-homepage, seen on 3-01-2008 Archived 2 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Kibaki's re-election bid in disarray as Raila takes charge of ODM – Jaluo dot Kom newsletter 4-09-2008
  4. The Standard, 11 October 2007: PNU agrees on joint nominations
  5. Daily Nation, 19 November 2007: PNU parties flout election deal
  6. Kibaki endorsed as PNU leader Written By:PPS/Collins Anampiu , Posted: Fri, 19 December 2008
  7. Published on 28 October 2008 By Joseph MurimiEast African Standard’s crucial test for Registrar of parties
  8. PNU and TNA to Sign Poll Pact
  9. End of Road for Kibaki PNU Party
  10., PNU shelves proposal to absorb affiliates By MUCHEMI WACHIRA Last updated: Tue, 22 Jul, 2008 22:04 PM (EAT)
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