Jubilee leaders plot comeback after huge losses

Thursday, June 10th, 2021 00:00 |
Jubilee Party headquarters in Nairobi. Photo/PD/File

Rawlings Otieno and Eric Wainaina

The Jubilee Party has embarked on a grassroots mobilisation drive and rebranding to change its dwindling fortunes, a top official has revealed.

Insiders blame the ruling party’s flagging popularity to infighting and lack of party structures.

Key party leaders allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta are planning several activities to revamp the party across the country ahead of next year’s General Election.

Deputy secretary general Joshua Kutuny, who was appointed to the position recently to replace Soy MP Caleb Kositany, said lack of substantive structures like regional offices and failure to replace officials who were removed in the purge on allies of Deputy President William Ruto, had weakened the party.   

“We have many people who want to propagate the agenda of the party and give it a new face but they have not been given that opportunity,” Kutuny told People Daily.

Observers say Jubilee’s troubles have been compounded by lack of regional offices and officials to help the party gather political intelligence and sustain grassroots activities.

Fill positions

The party has significantly been depleted by the exodus of elected leaders allied to Ruto to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) which has been fielding candidates in recent by-elections.

Kutuny says the issues that have contributed to Jubilee’s current state are being addressed at various levels of the party hierarchy.

“We have raised them before and they are on the table. They have to be addressed to revamp the ruling party,” he said.

“We are going to fill those positions. We have identified 25 counties where we will refurbish existing or open new offices at the constituency and county levels.

We are waiting for the Kiambaa by-election to come to an end. We will recruit new members,” he said.

He added that the party was in the process of rebranding ahead of the 2022 elections.

“We will do away with the logo of the party and see if we will retain the slogan and colours or change them,” he said.

Despite clinching the majority of elective seats in the 2017 General Election, the party has lost many of its members in the National Assembly, Senate and County Assemblies to the Ruto faction. 

Face of Kenya

The big losses in recent by-elections has jolted elected leaders and senior Jubilee officials to the reality that the party may be on its way to the political dust bin like former ruling parties Kanu, Narc and PNU.

And with just over a year to the elections, it may require extra ordinary efforts by its leadership to save if from that fate.

The Jubilee Parliamentary Secretary Adan Keynan (Eldas) blames infighting and internal sabotage that, he says, has resulted in massive exodus of members.

“What has been ailing Jubilee Party is a lot of infighting and internal sabotage. We will roar back to life once we know our true loyalists who will remain in the party,” said Keynan.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has also said that there is  need to re-energise the party to ensure it projects the face of Kenya.

She says the party’s outlook and strategies must suit the times and its supporters must be willing to step out of the comfort zone and embrace new ways of thinking and doing.

“The Jubilee Party carries the dreams and aspirations of many Kenyans. It was built on the strengths of many.

The party became what it was because of its diverse and broad support base. The rains have beaten us.

Our fortunes are dwindling. Intense introspection is demanded,” she said.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu has also admitted that Jubilee has suffered huge losses and it’s down on its knees.

“The losses that Jubilee might have suffered in recent days are a wake-up call for us and we have woken up. This will become very clear in another month or so,” said Wambugu.

Cold water

He explained that something similar happened to the Orange Democratic Movement a decade ago when it lost several key leaders but used that as an opportunity to re-evaluate itself and re-organise and came back fresh and fully charged.

But Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, a key ally of Ruto who was kicked out of the Leader of Majority’s position in May last year, however, poured cold water on plans to rejuvenate Jubilee.

“Jubilee is in the past. It is part of our history. We are no longer interested in knowing what is happening there. We are re-imagining a better future,” said Murkomen.

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