Jubilee in turmoil, DP Ruto admits

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 00:00 |
Deputy President William Ruto (right) with Governor Kiraitu Murungi (left) and Senator Mithika Linturi (centre) during the burial of Linturi’s father Mzee Peter Gichunge at Igembe South, Meru county, yesterday. Photo/PD/DPPS

In a public admission which is likely to have far-reaching political implications, Deputy President William Ruto yesterday said there is a rift in the ruling party, Jubilee. 

He, however, said the party feuds are manifested in the Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga groups have been brought by non-Jubilee individuals who are pushing for referendum for “cheap politics and personal interest”.  

“Yes, there is a rift in Jubilee fuelled by political factions, some for ‘punguza mzigo’ and others for ‘ongeza mzigo’ initiatives.

All these confusions have brought trouble in Jubilee,” said Ruto, who was addressing mourners at Athi in Igembe South, where he attended the burial of Meru Senator Mithika Linturi’s father. 

The DP warned the President Uhuru Kenyatta-led ruling party was losing its initial track and direction over what he termed “cheap politics of personal interest”. 

The admission is the first by the DP, who has maintained that all was well within the ruling party, despite the glaring intra-party factional fights with Members of Parliament and other political leaders split on either pro-Uhuru or Ruto lines.

On one hand is the Tanga Tanga group, which is allied to the DP and is drumming up support for his 2022 presidential bid.

On the other is the Kieleweke side which insists its initiative is to preach the President’s message of  development to realise his Big Four Agenda legacy projects.

Factional fights

Kieleweke has accused their rivals of defying the President’s order on DP’s pre-mature campaigns.

Yesterday, Ruto spoke after Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, claimed the ruling party was “already in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and needed urgent medical attention to save it from death”.  

He, however, vowed to re-unite Jubilee and ensure the party stays strong saying no one would be allowed to interfere with its agenda for Kenyans.

“I want to ask leaders including my brother Governor Kiraitu not to lose hope in the party because the small issues will be sorted out,” he said. 

“You all know what is happening on matters of Constitution. The champions of change of Constitution are known. This is not a business of Jubilee but other people who are well known to Kenyans,” he said in apparent reference to ODM leader Raila Odinga 

He said calls for change of the Constitution would not deter Jubilee from implementing its development agenda for Kenyans.

Kiraitu threatened to go back to his “Bus” party if Jubilee does not put its house in order. “ We are heading towards 2022 and instead of Jubilee staying strong and united, it is splitting,  meaning it has lost its direction and agenda,” he said.  

Linturi called on Jubilee leaders and MPs “to come back to their house and help rebuild it, instead of focusing on politics of disintegration. We should not watch the party that brought us this far from collapsing.

The spirit behind the formation of Jubilee should not be abandoned. We must salvage our party from collapse,” he said.

The more than 10 MPs and two governors from Mt Kenya region, who attended the funeral of Linturi’s father, Peter Linturi, separately said they would oppose change of Constitution if it is aimed at creating  jobs for some few people and burden Kenyans.

Other leaders included MPs John Paul (South Igembe), Mpuru Aburi (Eala), Halima Mucheke (Nominated), Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East), Fabian Muli (Kangundo), Josphat Kabeabea (Tigania East), Kubai Iringo (Igembe Central), Kathuri Murungi (South Imenti) and Kanyuithia Mutunga (Tigania West).

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki questioned why Kenyans were being subjected to referenda to amend the Constitution whenever the country was about to undergo change of leadership. 

“Why was it that there was no referendum to change the Constitution in 2013 or 2017? This is suspect,” he said.

New initiative

Kiraitu said the confusion created by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and Punguza Mizigo had forced governors to come up with Ugatuzi (devolution) initiative seeking  more funds to the counties.

“There is no need for departments like Agriculture, Health and Lands to remain with 80 per cent of the funds yet all the work is being handled at the county level,” he said

Muli said BBI was not about the people but few leaders who met in five-star hotels to explore ways of achieving their selfish gains ahead of the 2022 poll. 

The legislators said they would, however, support the change of the Constitution if it aimed to reduce burden on Kenyans. 

“But we will oppose attempts to change laws in order to create jobs for some few people,” said  Kabeabea.

MP Kiringo said Kenyans would not accept a constitution that would be imposed on them by a few individuals to achieve their selfish gains.

“What Kenyans want is to have laws that can help solve the problems facing them including high cost of food,” he said.

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