Storm in Jubilee over Kiambaa mini-poll loss

Monday, July 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Kiambaa’s Jubilee candidate Kariri Njama accompanied by other party members and supporters during the campaigns in Gachie last week. He lost to Njuguna Wanjiku of United Democratic Alliance in the hotly contested race. Photo/PD/FILE

 The fallout in the Jubilee Party over its defeat in the Kiambaa by-election widened at the weekend with Secretary General Raphael Tuju forced to fight off claims that he and vice-chairman David Murathe bungled the poll.

The election, which was billed as a face-off between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, saw Njuguna Wanjiku of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) beat Jubilee’s Kariri Njama with a margin of 510 votes. Wanjiku garnered 21,773 votes against Njama’s 21,263.

Tuju yesterday laughed off claims that he and Murathe were the cause of Thursday’s defeat, saying they campaigned as a party and no individual should be blamed.

“I have heard some people saying that we were responsible. I am only a secretary general and an employee of the party.

Some of the high-ranking members who are saying that are my bosses. It will be impolite for me to respond to their claims,” he told People Daily yesterday.

Some Jubilee MPs led by Kanini Kega (Kieni) have pointed an accusing finger at the two, whom they accused of failing to lead from the front.

The MP said they had given the two a one-week ultimatum to resign from their positions voluntarily or risk being evicted from office.

“We never saw them on the ground during the campaign period. For us to move forward as a strong party, they have to quit so that we can inject new blood of leadership,” he said.

Back to drawing board

Murathe has defended himself against the accusations and challenged individuals who, he said, were given campaign money to explain how it was utilised.

There have been murmurs that some Jubilee leaders pocketed cash that was meant for the campaigns. 

“Those who bungled the Kiambaa by-election must account for the money we gave them for the election campaigns,” Murathe said.

Tuju could not be drawn into the demand for his resignation but sources in the party said him and Murathe had resolved to stay put.

 The UDA victory has pushed Jubilee back to the drawing board, with the party calling a crisis meeting of its top officials on Wednesday to take stock after the Kiambaa outcome. 

Highlighting the increasing disquiet in the party, a high-ranking Jubilee MP in the National Assembly yesterday asked President Kenyatta to dissolve his government following the deep divisions in the party.

Jubilee parliamentary secretary and Eldas MP Adan Keynan acknowledged that the party had been shaken and blamed the situation on “technocrats who know nothing about politics”.

In a statement, Keynan asked Uhuru to dissolve the government and vet his advisers.

“Time has come for none other than the President to act and decisively so by shaking up his inner circle.

In doing so, he must go for nothing less than loyalty and appreciate the strategic role politics plays in actualisation of policy decisions,” he said. 

Immediate former National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has claimed that the Jubilee party has serious structural problems. He  said UDA party would be the party to watch come 2022 General Election.

“Jubilee is our party and we have realised that it has serious structural problems.

The party is sick structurally. Some of the key organs of the party have failed and it’s no longer a secret,” he said.

Addressing the press at his Garissa residence on Saturday, Duale said despite the defects, “we still command the highest number of members both in the Senate and National Assembly”.

On the Kiambaa by-election, Duale said the polls “was just a warm up of the real battle come 2022”.

With only 13 months before the 2022 General Election, the UDA win in the Central Kenya region has triggered debate on whether the victory was a dress rehearsal for the upcoming polls.

It is worth noting that Ruto’s party and its affiliates have won six out of eight by-elections held recently.

Gaining traction

The party has won in Juja and Kiambaa constituencies both in Kiambu county, Gaturi ward in Murang’a county, Lake View in Naivasha, London ward in Nakuru County and Rurii in Nyandarua while Jubilee secured wins in Hells Gate in Naivasha and Muguga ward.

Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagua, a staunch Ruto supporter, said the Kiambaa by-election was a titanic battle for both UDA and Jubilee, adding that its outcome was a demonstration that the new party was gaining traction in the region.

“We have made a conscious decision to join UDA in droves and we no longer subscribe to Jubilee ideologies. For the avoidance of doubt, we are not interested in the affairs of the Jubilee government because our eyes are focused on the 2022 polls,” he said.

His Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro said Ruto-affiliated MPs from Mt Kenya had moved on.

  “Majority of Jubilee legislators are now wearing yellow. An egg’s york (yellow) is what matters and we have left them with the shell to rebrand,” said the MP. Yellow is the UDA brand colour.

Senator Irungu Kang’ata said UDA holds the future of the country and advised those who want to be politically relevant in future to join the same.

  “UDA is the hustlers movement party, which seeks to address the plight of the mostly ignored and downtrodden common man and it’s unstoppable,” he said.

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