Murathe opens up on his beef with DP
Eric Wainaina @EWainaina
Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe speaks with grit and rare finality, and most of his political “prophesies” have come to pass.
Murathe is lately loved and hated in equal measure after he strongly aligned himself to the camp rallying support for ODM leader Raila Odinga against Deputy President William Ruto.
He is a prominent member of the club of leaders revolving around trade unionist Francis Atwoli, which have been holding weekend caucuses to discuss President Uhuru Kenyatta succession and the 2022 General Election.
His Garden Estate home in Nairobi has been christened “Gazebo” where key political decisions are made over a drink, nyama choma and rolls of tobacco by the fireside.
The kind of power he wields is unusual for a man who is neither elected nor holds any known government position.
And if his latest outburst is anything to go by, Ruto should fast be shopping for a new political vehicle for his 2022 presidential ambitions.
According to Murathe, who before the 2017 elections told Kenyans to prepare for a more “assertive and ruthless” President Uhuru in his second term, Ruto would be denied the Jubilee ticket because of what he described as “insubordination, questionable integrity character and a failed probation”.
Yesterday, Ruto and Murathe were engaged in a fierce exchange of words over corruption allegations and the 2022 succession politics, with the DP describing the former Gatanga lawmaker as a “broker and con man”.
Speaking during a live TV interview on Tuesday night, Murathe, who described himself as one of the President’s men, was categorical that Jubilee will not honour a pact that Uhuru should support Ruto in 2022, signaling an imminent divorce ahead of the polls.
He claimed the 2013 arrangement was no longer binding since “that was not what the rank and file of the party thinks”, adding that Ruto should expect a political breakup with Uhuru, the same way couples wed in church but end up divorcing, since he (the DP) had proven to be a bad partner.
“People go to church and they swear before man and God to get married until death does them part. But people still divorce.
These arrangements, politics are dynamic and if you start by behaving well and then you change your character along the way, everybody has a right to change their mind about the position,” Murathe said.
Though keen not to create an impression that he relays messages from the President’s inner circle, because most of his predications have come to pass, Murathe’s words and body language left no doubt that he speaks for powerful forces with a stake in the Uhuru 2022 succession matrix.
Murathe, who has been a key player in the meetings bringing together Uhuru and Raila supporters at Atwoli’s Kajiado home, revealed that they were working on a strategy to block Ruto from State House.
Come out clean
“Some of us, the so-called President’s men, when Uhuru goes home, we go home with them like Obama’s men, Bush’s me, Clinton’s men.
But we care who will come after this president so we have to sit, discuss and scheme; we don’t know who will be the president but we are working hard to know who will not become president,” he said.
For some politicians, Murathe is a champion of powerful forces from Mt Kenya region seeking to shape the Uhuru succession debate but for others he is a rabble rouser driven by personal resentment for the DP.
“Listening to Murathe last night one might think he has a basket of votes in his house in trust for the people of Mt Kenya region.
I want to remind him that he has only one vote like any other Kenyan and that he should come out clean over the Kemsagate Covid scandal without perambulating around with a set of specious theories hoping one would stick,” said Kirinyaga Woman Rep Wangui Ngirici, an ardent supporter of the DP in the Central region.
Remarks by Murathe, who described himself as a person who “speaks his mind and straight”, yesterday attracted fury from DP Ruto, who accused him of championing graft in government especially in the current Kenya Medical Supplies Agency scandal and then trying to cover up.
“Corruption ‘consultants’, brokers and con men, some bankrupt in 2013, are now billionaires after looting while scapegoating WRS (DP).
Their overgrown impunity is shamelessly making them steal even from the sick in a pandemic.
The end is nigh. Nowhere to hide. No more scapegoating,” he said after Murathe branded him corrupt.
And last week, the DP accused the former Gatanga MP of taking over the control of Jubilee affairs through the backdoor.
“The party has been hijacked by busy bodies and con men and brokers like Murathe and company,” he said.
It is a drastic fallout for Ruto and Murathe who in 2017 camped at the Jubilee headquarters to oversee party primaries during which they were accused of nominating their friends and ejecting politicians not favourable to them.
Murathe says he fell out with the DP over tender wars. “The Deputy President knows that the feud between him and I was when he brokered for a company that quoted Sh3 billion more expensive than the lowest evaluated bidder for a project in Ukambani called the Thwake dam,” he claimed.
But Ruto’s supporters, led by Soy MP Caleb Kositany, who is also the Jubilee deputy secretary, maintain they will not leave the party.
According to Murathe, Ruto was not the right person to replace his boss, saying that since 2013, he has been on “probation” and his leadership credentials were being tested “but unfortunately the jury is out”.
Murathe described Ruto as someone who was in a hurry to inherit the Presidency.
Murathe, however, insisted that he does not speak for the President.
“Sometimes we have fierce quarrels with the President precisely because of that stereotyping.
I don’t purport to speak for the President. I speak my mind. If that is in line with what the government is doing, so be it,” he said.