Controversial businessman Thuo Mathenge has suffered a setback as the family of retired President Mwai Kibaki has dissociated itself from his political party – The New Democrats (TND).
The Kibaki family denied any links to the party after its officials dragged the name of the eldest son, Jimmy Kibaki, into its operations early in the week.
President Kibaki’s Private Secretary Ngari Gituku said Jimmy was not involved in TND’s activities and urged Kenyans to ignore the officials who cited his name.
“From the horse’s own mouth … talk about Jimmy Kibaki registering a new political party is loose and idle street talk. Kindly ignore,” said Mr Gituku.
Reached for comment, Mr Mathenge neither confirmed nor denied Jimmy’s involvement in TND’s launch.
“We are in talks with many Jimmys; Jimmy Kibaki, Jimmy Wanjigi and many other Jimmys,” he said.
TND’s launch pointed to behind-the scenes schemes by the country’s main political players ahead of the 2022 general election.
Mr Mathenge, who is the party’s national chairman, said it had embarked on a national recruitment drive in order to increase its popularity at the grassroots level.
Currently, the party has one MP, Mr Nzioka Erastus Kivasu of Mbooni, and 11 MCAs mostly in Eastern and Coast regions.
Asked about financiers, Mr Mathenge said he was funding operations with a boost from contributions by members and business people whose identities he did not reveal.
“We cannot reveal the financiers but we have support from academicians, politicians, business people and others in the diaspora. Our support [is widespread],” he said.
Mr Mathenge joined TND after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) locked him out of the Nyeri governor race following a petition over his eligibility.
He said the party is an alternative vehicle for 2022 “because the main political parties and coalitions such as Jubilee and [the National Super Alliance] killed dreams of potential leaders through sham primaries in 2017”.