Kenya: Duale, Tuju Dispel Talk of De-Whipping Pro-Ruto MPs

Anxiety has gripped Jubilee Party MPs from Mt Kenya region allied to Deputy President William Ruto following reports that the party plans to remove them from key parliamentary committees for defying President Uhuru Kenyatta's order to stop early campaigns.

The MPs' opponents in the 2017 election have been given plum public jobs as a way of taming them.

However, in an interview with the Nation, Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale denied that the party plans to de-whip the MPs.

Mr Tuju said he would have been the first person to break the ice had there been such a plan, saying the party is only planning to induct the MPs to understand their responsibilities.

INDUCTION

The party, he said, is planning a series of induction meetings for members to understand their duties, the handshake between President Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga and what could lead them to be de-whipped.

"Those are just daily politics. The only meeting we are conducting is for highlighting their duties and obligations and for them to know what could see them de-whipped, but you can't take action on members who don't know whether what they are doing is right or wrong," Mr Tuju said.

After the induction, he said, members who will not adhere to the party's ideals will be punished, Mr Tuju said.

Mr Duale also said there were no plans to de-whip members and that some of the leaders' remarks over the weekend were their democratic freedom.

"The Jubilee family is united and all legislative proposals from the Jubilee administration have been passed. Whatever MPs do and say over the weekend is part of democracy they enjoy through our party, hence what is important to me is seamless flow of the government agenda in the House and no need for whipping any of our members," he said.

CAMPAIGNS

Unconfirmed reports had indicated that MPs who had defied the President and continued visiting various parts of the country campaigning instead of focusing on growth will be removed from plum National Assembly and Senate committees.

Some of those targeted were said to be Senator Irungu Kangata, Murang'a Women Representative Sabina Chege and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa.

Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi told the Nation that the leaders are supposed to be the President's ambassadors using their committees but have defied the calls to stop premature campaigns.

"The positions the leaders hold are very integral in realising the President's dreams of actualising the Big Four agenda, but they are busy campaigning for their master in 2022. They should be replaced with members who will drive the President's agenda," he told the Nation.

The MP accused the Tanga Tanga team of keeping the country in an electioneering mood instead of supporting the President in uniting people and prioritising development.

DISRESPECT

Kigumo MP Ruth Mwaniki told the Nation that the country is disorderly as some Mt Kenya leaders have negated their core duty of respecting the President and following his directives.

She said the leaders were elected for "hanging in President Uhuru Kenyatta's coats" but they had resorted to disrespecting him, adding that their posts should be given to loyal members.

"Party leadership has to be aligned to a certain policy for there to be order, but as things are there is disorder since some leaders are behaving as if there is no leadership.

"The President must crack the whip and order the removal of stiff-necked leaders without fear since the majority are behind him," she said.

Her sentiments were echoed by ODM politician Kamau Mweha who described the Tanga Tanga leaders as "leaders blinded by cheap money".

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