Uhuru moves to revamp Jubilee ahead 2022 polls

Friday, July 9th, 2021 00:00 |
Jubilee Party officials during a recent retreat at a Nairobi hotel to deliberate on the future of the party. Photo/PD/Courtesy

President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved to reorganise his Jubilee Party, making a raft of changes in the management team ahead of the 2022 elections.

The changes come at a time the party is deeply divided with one faction supporting Uhuru and the other backing his deputy William Ruto.

In the changes which the President endorsed yesterday, former nominated MP Osman Hasan, lawyer Kamau Mbugua and former Kangema MP Titus Ngahu have been appointed as Senior Directors for Outreach, Legal and Elections and Membership, respectively.

The changes, according to the party’s Director of Communications Albert Memusi, were approved by the National Management Committee on June 23. The committee also approved the appointment of Wambui Gichuru as acting Executive Director.

Wambui, who has been the head of Finance and Administration, is the daughter of former long-serving Kenya Power managing director Samuel Gichuru.

The NMC meeting was followed by a parliamentary leadership meeting chaired by the party chairman Nelson Dzuya.

“The retreat brought together the three teams in leadership and management to deliberate on a number of changes that are aimed at revamping the party ahead of 2022,” Memusi said yesterday.

He added: “The retreat was fruitful and we intend to embark on implementing the resolutions.”

The transformation in the party management structure is the first one since a section of members allied to Ruto, the deputy party leader, said they had decamped to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

The new officials have the uphill task of turning around the fortunes of the President’s party and ensuring it remains vibrant.

They take over at a time the ruling party is facing a backlash especially due to alleged mismanagement by top officials.

Jubilee performed poorly in recent by-elections, even losing seats it previously held.

Jubilee lost in Juja to the little known People’s Empowerment Party, which is associated with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, and in Bonchari to ODM. 

The party also lost ward elections in Nakuru (London ward), Gaturi in Kiharu and Rurii in Nyandarua County.

The party has also been hit by “defections” of MPs who have joined UDA, the latest ones being Kiambu Woman MP Gathoni Wamuchomba, Nakuru East MP David Gikaria, Samuel Gacobe (Subukia) and Kago Mukuha of Githunguri.

Rebranding opposed

“We are moving to where our people are,” said Wamuchomba, moments after declaring that she had shifted allegiance to UDA.

Jubilee deputy secretary general, Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny, on Tuesday told the media of plans to rebrand the party ahead of a possible merger with Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.

But a section of party MPs led by Peter Mwathi (Limuru) and Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town) dismissed the proposed rebranding, saying members were not consulted.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru is on record calling for changes in the management of the party.

Waiguru noted that Jubilee was struggling to keep its foothold as one of the most popular parties in Kenya.

“The rains have beaten us. Our fortunes are dwindling. Intense introspection is demanded.

“As we head to 2022 we must recognise that the party is now operating in a new context far different from 10 years ago,” Waiguru said in a statement last month.

According to Kutuny, the envisaged changes include rebranding the party by changing colours and the moto, building coalitions with like-minded political parties, recruitment of members and activating the party leadership at the constituency and county levels.

Other developments include opening of party offices, realignment of the secretariat and regional offices, a proposed retreat of like-minded MPs, senators and governors.

The party’s current colours – red, yellow, black and white – were derived from Uhuru’s The National Alliance (TNA) and Ruto’s URP.

But MPs Mwathi and Wambugu, while dismissing the rebranding plans, termed the decision so drastic to be made in a boardroom by a few officials.

 Wambugu said changing the party colours and logos because of some defections would mean members were bigger than the outfit itself which is untrue.

He maintained that Jubilee is about unity as shown by the two clasped hands on its logo, adding that the colours also work well for members and there was thus no need to change them.

“A party logo and colours cannot be changed every time some members leave (or join). Our parties must now be bigger than any individuals within.

Unless we are saying that we will be changing our party logos and colours every time someone leaves (or joins) the party,” the outspoken MP said.

More on News