Blow to Ruto as Kalonzo, CCM ink Jubilee deal

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka addresses journalists after signing a post-election coalition with Jubilee and CCM at Jubilee House in Nairobi. Photo/PD/FILE

Eric Wainaina @EWainaina

Former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party and Chama Cha Mashinani of former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto yesterday signed post-election cooperation deals with the ruling Jubilee Party.

The agreements could further isolate Deputy President William Ruto and derail his 2022 State House ambitions.

The two party leaders, who have been critical of the Deputy President, led party officials to the signing that took place at the Jubilee headquarters in Nairobi.

They were hosted by secretary general Raphael Tuju and vice chairman David Murathe.

Tuji and Murathe have been waging a spirited campaign against the Deputy President who they accuse of undermining his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The signing was done by Tuju, his Wiper counterpart Nominated Senator Judith Sijeny and CCM’s Zedekiah Kiprop (Buzeki) and witnessed by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, who is Wiper’s vice-chairman, and party chairman Ali Mwakwere.

Kalonzo and Ruto, whose parties are part of the Opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa), said the decision to incorporate other parties in government was geared towards helping Uhuru to unite the country and boost the war on corruption.

Support BBI

However, observers were quick to interpret the deal as a calculated blow to the DP, coming hot on the heels of another cooperation agreement between Jubilee and the Senator Gideon Moi-led Kanu.

Yesterday Kalonzo, who had previously been linked to a possible deal with Ruto, said the agreement will see his party work with Uhuru in and out of Parliament even as he signaled an imminent exit from Nasa, which he said only exists in paper.

“Our intention is to support the President fully in his declared intentions to rid this country of corruption and unite the country.

We unequivocally support the President as we said in November last year when we met at the Bomas of Kenya and as Wiper we said we fully support BBI because it will unite the country,” he said.

The DP and his allies have been rallying against the Building the Bridges Initiative (BBI), which is a product of the Handshake between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga. 

It is meant to address some of the country’s most pressing challenges including election-related violence, corruption, exclusion and historical injustices.

Kalonzo also backed the Uhuru-Raila coalition push for a  review of the Constitution, which the DP and his supporters have also been resisting.

Jubilee purge

“The Constitution is not a static document. It is a document that can breathe life even as it moves forward and achieve its objectives and mandate elaborated thereunder,” Kalonzo said, a pointer that he supports the proposed referendum.

Yesterday’s agreement means that Uhuru, whose coalition deal with Kanu helped him executive a ruthless purge of the DP’s allies from Senate leadership positions, will now have more supporters in the National Assembly where Wiper has 19 members.

Now the House may not be a good place for Ruto to fight his wars with the President in future.

“We shall cooperate in terms of enhancing Jubilee programme in Parliament, both in the National Assembly and in the Senate,” Kalonzo said, adding that the move would see his members benefit from committee positions in the two Houses.

The Wiper chief denied claims that he was joining two coalitions, saying yesterday’s move was just the beginning of a process that will see the party eventually quit Nasa.

“You cannot belong to two coalitions at the same time but I can tell Kenyans that we have absolutely no doubt in our mind as Wiper the direction we have taken and, therefore, as soon as there is an ability to move around, we are still consulting with our membership and our intention is to enter into a coalition with Jubilee,” he said.

He, however, dismissed speculation that he was aiming to join the Cabinet, saying it will be a wrong political move.

“The next general election will be in August 2022, that is written and I have not heard BBI or anybody arguing about it.

That is almost exactly two years from now. Would you expect that I would relinquish my position as party leader to go into the Cabinet two years to the general election?” he posed.

The CCM boss Ruto, who since the last election has been at loggerheads with the DP especially over Bomet county politics, appeared to celebrate the misfortunes of his namesake who has been losing House leadership positions over allegations of disloyalty to the Jubilee Party and its leadership.

Ruto’s allies, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Tharaka Nithi’s Kindiki Kithure and Susan Kihika (Nakuru) were recently ousted as Majority Leader, Deputy Speaker and Chief Whip, respectively.

Kanu played a key role in their sacking and was rewarded, with its member Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot) replacing Murkomen as Leader of Majority.

Majority leader

In the National Assembly, Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali and his deputy Cecily Mbarire, who are also allied to the DP, were also replaced.

“Whipping members is an integral part of party politics. It is proper. It is in order for any party to whip its members to follow the party line.

It’s protected by the Constitution which says Kenya shall be a multiparty democracy,” the former Bomet governor said.

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