Kenya: 'Pawns' Caught Up in Jubilee Proxy Wars as 'Kings' Battle for Turf

Opposition leader Raila Odinga (right) leafs through a book in the company of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho during the devolution conference (file photo).

Ideally, they should be working together to run the country's largest political party, regularly consulting, and attending meetings.

But Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and his deputy Caleb Kositany are constantly working at cross-purposes as pawns in the increasingly public turf wars pitting President Kenyatta against his deputy William Ruto.

Although the DP has often said that he's not fighting his boss, the war of words between Mr Tuju and Mr Kositany have exposed the worsening relationship between two leaders ever since the March 2018 handshake between President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

While the DP Ruto insists that he is in good terms with boss and that they consult regularly, President Kenyatta's silence is tellingly loud as Mr Tuju and vice-chairman David Murathe take on Ruto allies.

"To reduce our administration to chemistry, position and power is an insult to Uhuru and I and a betrayal of the eight million plus Kenyans who voted for us," the DP said in a tweet, dismissing talk of lost camaraderie between him and his boss.

On Monday, Mr Kositany fired yet another shot at Mr Tuju, dismissing a brief he had sent to members explaining the changes the top official made to the National Management Committee (NMC), which Mr Ruto has termed as illegal and fraudulent.

"Members of the party, including leaders, should ignore the condescending lectures by Tuju and his acolytes. Jubilee is a democratic party and every opinion matters," Mr Kositany said in the letter he sent out to members Monday.

He accused Mr Tuju and media-shy party chairman Nelson Dzuya of "falsehoods, misrepresentations and fraud."

Mr Kositany, who is also the Soy MP, now wants the President and his deputy to use the powers given to them by the party constitution to convene a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that he says Mr Tuju has been unable to or is unwilling to convene.

"The party leader or deputy party leader should convene the NEC to (resolve) the objections raised by party members," Mr Kositany said.

The Soy MP had on Sunday demanded that the NEC be the one to plan for elections as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic is over, with the changes made to the NMC rescinded in favour of the party polls "so that we are compliant, once and for all."

In the changes, Mr Tuju brought on board Ms Lucy Nyawira Macharia, Prof Marete Marangu, Mr Walter Nyambati, Ms Jane Nampaso and Mr James Waweru to join the party NMC. Ms Veronica Maina, Ms Fatuma Shukri and Ms Pamela Mutua were kicked out.

In his brief to members, Mr Tuju said the NMC meeting was necessitated by a letter from Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu documenting the steps the party needed to take to conduct its elections, chief among them being having a functioning NMC to organise the polls, which had been planned for March, but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"NEC meetings must be preceded by NMC meetings to set the agenda for the NEC meeting. Further, preparation for elections would require action by the NMC, which has the responsibility of overseeing the management and supervision of party affairs and the secretariat and approving budgetary plans," Mr Tuju said in his letter.

In his letter, Mr Kositany said Ms Shukri, Ms Mutua and Ms Maina "have never been members of the NMC, and therefore their purported replacement is fraudulent and fictitious."

Even then, the MP argued, "the NMC being a subset of NEC cannot meet to appoint members to itself, let alone NEC officials."

Mr Kositany demanded that all communication from Mr Tuju or Mr Dzuya be, henceforth, accompanied by details of the relevant party organ that sanctioned it, with details of date, the attendees, and the relevant party constitutional provision authorising such action, or meeting.

"No party official should purport to be speaking or acting on behalf of either the party leader or his deputy. Tuju, therefore, must not hide behind (them) to cover up this massive fraudulent scheme," Mr Kositany said.

He insisted that the changes to the NMC were "unconstitutional, illegal and fraudulent", saying that there was no proof that the NMC meeting cited by Mr Tuju happened.

The Soy MP listed organising secretary Abdul Haji and treasurer Albert Mutai as among those who had said that the meeting did not happen, and no notices were sent out for it.

Mr Kositany also disputes the listing of Mr Murathe as having attended the meeting, saying, he "is not and has never been a member of NMC."

He also laughed off the assertion that the NMC meeting took place on February 10. "There is no way the President's party could have held a meeting as former President Moi lay in state in Parliament," Mr Kositany said.

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