Jubilee to kick out Ruto, Muturi from the party
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee Party yesterday commneced a process that will lead to Deputy President William Ruto and other rebels lotal to him being kicked out of the outfit.
In a move aimed at restructuring the party ahead of its planned merger with Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement ahead of the August 2022 elections, the Jubilee Parliamentary Caucus has lifted the lid on the planned purge that could change the country’s political matrix.
Besides Ruto, the deputy party leader, and his allies, Jubilee is also reportedly targeting all other individuals who have publicly resolved to take a different political path, in a move that could see National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi face the wrath of members.
Muturi has announced his intention to vie for presidency on a Democratic Party ticket, a move that has angered some Jubilee stalwarts, who feel he has betrayed the party that sponsored him to his current position. Muturi has been traversing the country selling his policies and agenda, in what Jubilee top brass perceive to be a show of disrespect to President Uhuru’s administration and party.
A source told People Daily that according to House rules, Muturi will cease to be Speaker once Jubilee withdraws its support.
“The plot is to have him replaced by an amenable candidate. He will lose the perks and Government resources he has been using to campaign,” said the source.
Those pushing for Muturi’s ouster accuse him of having gone behind the President’s back to seek endorsement as the Mt Kenya spokesman, a position the Head of State holds. “He has lately shown open disrespect and defiance to the President and Jubilee that made him who he is today. His time is up and the National Delegates Convention (NDC) will seal his fate,” added the source.
However, information about Muturi’s ouster remained scanty, with those privy to the plot choosing to remain guarded to avoid “letting the cat out of the bag”.
Yesterday, through a notice issued by secretary general Raphael Tuju, the party said it would convene NDC at the end of the month to ratify some of the decisions made by the National Executive Committee (NEC).
“Take notice that Pursuant to Article and 7.1:2 of the Jubilee Party Constitution, a meeting of the National Delegates Convention, shall be convened at 10am on the November 30 at Kasarani,” the notice.
NDC is also expected to ratify recommendations of the National Management Committee and NEC for the party to enter into a coalition with ODM as well as support its candidate, Raila in the 2022 presidential poll.
“The NDC will formalise the working arrangement between ODM and Jubilee and other like-minded parties. This is the day that Jubilee will officially announce that it will not field a candidate in 2022, but will instead support Raila,” said the highly placed source. Asked if Ruto’s removal from the party register will be on the cards at the NDC, Jubilee Coalition Joint Parliamentary Group Secretary Adan Keynan answered in the affirmative.
“Jubilee is a democratic party, and we rate loyalty and party discipline highest among our ideals. Our members have been patient enough with the fence sitters giving us unsolicited advice. At the NDC, we are going to restore order, discipline and decorum in the party, the level of the culprits’ political offices notwithstanding,” said Keynan.
He added: “Our delegates will review, critique and analyse party and government policies and take stock of the great economic strides the country has made under the Jubilee leadership. It is this that will majorly recalibrate our next political course.” National Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee chair Kanini Kega (Kieni) warned that all leaders who have publicly declared support for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which is associated with the DP, should not bother attending the NDC because they will be kicked out.
“We will kick out all those who have declared or helped in the creation of another party starting with the DP. They should not even bother attending,” said Kega.
Besides the lawmaker, a key ally of President Uhuru also revealed that the NDC will ratify changes to the leadership of the party, change of the party’s constitution and agreement with like-minded entities.
Yesterday, sources intimated to People Daily that though there have been calls for Tuju’s removal, he remains “safe” for now, while vice-chairman David Murathe could be sitting on shaky ground.
“The party leadership has agreed to spare Tuju, but Murathe is not guaranteed to remain in his position. He seems to have fallen out of favour with the party leadership beyond repair,” said the source.
It also emerged that almost 90 per cent of staff at the Jubilee Secretariat could be shown the door, some for allegedly being sympathetic to Ruto. A number of them are being accused of leaking confidential information. Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu and a key ally of the President, said the party management will settle on the number of delegates to be invited.
“Only those invited will attend. Leaders of political parties that have declared interest in partnering with Jubilee in the coming elections will be invited,” said Wambugu.
He charged that Jubilee had delivered on its mandate of development, unifying Kenyans and restoring dignity among the people, adding that projects such as the transformational Standard Gauge Railway, Nairobi Expressway, and rural electrification show that Jubilee had achieved a lot.
“The party has laid a foundation of a prosperous Kenya and the NDC will partly be about celebrating these achievements and seeking ways to build on what has already been done. Those loudly claiming that the party is dead are in Parliament through the party’s sponsorship. If it is indeed dead, why have they not formally resigned and sought a fresh mandate through a party of their choice?” posed Wambugu.
According to the MP, the plan to kick out Ruto is on the cards, adding that it was the second in command who insisted on putting the country on a campaign mode years to the election, ignoring the party leader’s call to work for the people and campaign at the appropriate time.
“He opposed his boss, opposed the revenue sharing formula as proposed, instead coming up with his version that could have resulted in unfairly skewed revenue sharing, opposed all attempts at uniting the country and initiated a smear campaign against his President and party leader,” he charged. Last week, the Jubilee Parliamentary Caucus announced that it would hold an NDC within the month to deliberate on restructuring the party and its leadership to reflect aspirations of its members.
Some party members have been calling for rebranding, restructuring and revitalisation of the party with a view to making it stronger and more vibrant ahead of 2022 polls.
Divisions have also emerged within Jubilee top brass over the President’s role in the countdown and after elections, with some calling for his continued stay in an influential position. Wambugu yesterday, insisted that Uhuru “is too young” to retire from active politics and that he would continue guiding the party even after the elections.
NDC will also iron out the thorny issue of whether the party would hold joint nominations with its partner ODM, or revert to zoning of strongholds of respective parties.
The notice said the agenda of NDC shall be to review, formulate and/or approve all policies of the party and to consider, amend, review and/or ratify the party constitution to ensure compliance with the Constitution of Kenya, Political Parties Act and Elections Act, among other laws.
Tuju told delegates that the convention shall be held in strict compliance with Covid-19 health guidelines as advised by the Ministry of Health.
Yesterday, leaders allied to Ruto said they would not attend the NDC, stating that the convention will be an illegality since the party has never done grassroots elections.
Former Jubilee Party deputy secretary general Caleb Kositany said he was a Jubilee member “on a technicality”as he has since moved to UDA.
“Jubilee Party has never held any grassroots election. It has no grassroots structures so any delegate who will attend will just be handpicked,” said Kositany.
His Mathira counterpart Rigathi Gachagua said: “I will not attend because nothing good can come out of it. The party organs have not met, some leaders in Jubilee became dictatorial and started chasing away members. I will not be interested in being talked down upon and having a dress down. I also have my dignity as a leader.”
Belgut MP Nelson Koech also said he would not attend. “I do not believe that Jubilee as a party is advancing my interests and that of the majority of Kenyans. Technically I am still a member of Jubilee but we have since moved on.”