One of Kenya’s original parties formed at the advent of multiparty democracy, Ford, is this week celebrating 25 years of existence.
And to celebrate the occasion, Ford Asili, which split from the original Forum for Restoration of Democracy (Ford), has rebranded to the Forum for Republican Democracy (Ford).
“Ford (with Republican) aims at retracing the multi-party history for the younger generation that may not have followed the rough and inhumane political developments of this country. The party insists that this country must cease to be ethnicised,” said the party’s secretary-general Njeru Kathangu, who is aspiring to be the next Embu senator.
After its formation in 1992 as Ford, the outfit almost immediately split into Ford-Kenya and Ford Asili in June of the same year.
Mr Jaramogi Oginga Odinga went on to lead Ford Kenya while Mr Kenneth Matiba together with Martin Shikuku took over the leadership of Ford Asili.
Ford-Kenya is currently led by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, a co-principal in the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa).
In June 2017, the party plans to celebrate the opposition leaders who played a big role in the formation of the original Ford after a bruising battle with the dictatorial Kanu regime for the repeal of Section 2A of the Constitution that outlawed multipartyism.
These include Kenya’s first Vice President Oginga Odinga, the late Masinde Muliro, Mzee George Nthenge, the late Martin Shikuku, the late Ahmed Bamahariz and late the Phillip Gachoka.
The party will also celebrate the twenty multiparty warriors led by Mr Kenneth Matiba and the late George Anyona, said Mr Kathangu, a former Ford Asili MP for Runyenyes.
In a statement, Mr Kathangu said the change of name from ‘‘restoration’’ to ‘‘republican’’ is because “restoration” has been achieved.
“For this reason, it is not correct and or logical to continue restoring but (it is better) to entrench and enhance democracy in our motherland,” said Mr Kathangu.
He said that the party is open to all those who might want to contest on its ticket.
“We appeal to all those politically frustrated, marginalised, ignored and wandering to remember that Ford was formed to offer a roof and a democratic choice and option as Kenya must emerge from the colonial and neo-colonial yoke,” said Mr Kathangu.