Kenya: Ruto Allies Take Jubilee Party Wars to Kenyatta Doorstep

Deputy President William Ruto.

Deputy President William Ruto's allies have taken the battle for an imploding Jubilee Party to President Kenyatta's doorstep, demanding that he denounce comments party vice-chairman David Murathe and secretary-general Raphael Tuju made.

Jubilee deputy secretary-general Caleb Kositany, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and Daniel Rono (Keiyo South) said yesterday that the Head of State's silence in the face of sustained attacks on the DP by the officials is worrying.

The MPs said that the proposed change of the party's National Management Committee (NMC) without the involvement of the DP, who is the deputy party leader, is part of a wider scheme to elbow him out of the party.

"Mr Murathe is on record saying his statements have the blessings of the President," Mr Barasa said. Noting that neither the President nor his deputy own Jubilee, the Kimilili lawmaker added: "It belongs to millions of Kenyans who have a stake in the party."

He told the President: "The DP was your darling when you were looking for votes. What has changed?"

Mr Ruto has protested the move by Mr Tuju to have Ms Lucy Nyawira Macharia, Prof Marete Marangu, Mr Walter Nyambati, Ms Jane Nampaso and Mr James Waweru join the party's NMC.

Ms Veronica Maina, Ms Fatuma Shukri and Ms Pamela Mutua have been kicked out.

"Those who think they'll come and tell us what to do with our party will be in for a rude shock; DP Ruto is going nowhere. We will fight for him and he remains our deputy party leader," Keiyo South MP Rono said.

Mr Kositany protested the changes, demanding to see the minutes of the meeting that approved the new names.

"It's purported that they signed minutes but there has been no meetings, otherwise we would have attended. I'll be here on Wednesday (today) to pick the report from the registrar.

"If we find any falsified minutes by Mr Tuju and party chairman Nelson Dzuya, we will ask them to step aside and take the necessary legal action," Mr Kositany said.

The battle for the ruling party, meanwhile, took a different twist, as Kenyatta-allied officials mooted plans to rope in ODM leader Raila Odinga and force out the DP.

To roll out the scheme, Mr Murathe on Monday attended a meeting hosted by another harsh Ruto critic Cotu leader Francis Atwoli. Mr Odinga, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Senate Minority Leader James Orengo and National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed attended the meeting.

"People can expect new formations in the future. Nothing stops us from moving on to a house bigger than Jubilee. In fact, post-coronavirus, this country probably needs a government of national unity," Mr Murathe said.

Mr Atwoli said the fight against the DP Ruto is only getting started.

"Normally in Kenya, formations are obvious and nobody stops formations. And even if William Ruto were to be excluded, there is nothing wrong with that. But as it stands, he is excluding himself," Mr Atwoli said.

In Parliament, the President's allies plan a change of leadership to purge the DP's allies. Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny and Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the plan is in top gear.

Imminent changes

"You cannot be a leader of Majority and at the same time you are also curtailing the efforts of the same party and government you purport to serve," Mr Kutuny said.

Mr Ngunjiri said: "The DP and his allies are trying to stop Parliamentary leadership changes. Those who benefited from the DP's manipulation of committees and top positions in Parliament in 2017 are afraid of imminent changes. Understandably so."

In response, Jubilee Chief Whip in the National Assembly Benjamin Washiali said: "I knew that was the ultimate target because in normal circumstances, they would not have dared to touch us. This shows how some politicians can be dishonest."

Mr Kositany said House leadership changes can only be done through a Jubilee Parliamentary Group [meeting].

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen added: "I don't know who the rebels are and I don't know what they are rebelling against. That's none of my business. The senators I lead are Jubilee senators; not Kieleweke. Kieleweke can go and discipline its members."

On Tuesday, the DP's allies were out guns blazing, telling off their opponents that they are not short of options.

"For a long time, we've been taken for granted, and we have been turning the other cheek. Now, we will see them eye to eye. Let them walk out. We're the majority. And we are not going anywhere. We are the owners of the party. They should leave if they want," Gatundu South Moses Kuria said.

Reporting by Wycliff Kipsang, Onyango K'Onyango, Justus Ochieng', Sarah Nanjala and Patrick Lang'at

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