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January 17, 2019

[VIDEO] Jubilee MPs boycott State House PG, Uhuru threatens action

President Uhuru Kenyatta chairs the first Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting of the year at State House, Nairobi. /PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta chairs the first Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting of the year at State House, Nairobi. /PSCU

Most Jubilee MPs boycotted a Parliamentary Group meeting called by their leader President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, yesterday.

Jubilee has 170 MPs, 164 elected and six nominated. Less than 50 attended yesterday's meeting, which they described as “a lecture”.

“We are not children yet we are being treated as such. We cannot have a situation where we are called and read a riot act all the time,” said an angry MP who attended the meeting but did not want to be named for fear of victimisation. 

Read: Defiant MPs summoned to State House

The boycott drew the President’s anger and he reportedly threatened “punitive action” on those who will not attend future Parliamentary Group meetings.

“It was like a lecture room where the lecturer comes, lectures and gives the students assignments which he will then review. For us, it was worse because we were not even given a chance to ask questions after the lecture,” said an MP from the Rift Valley.

Yesterday’s meeting was addressed by Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, his colleague in the National Assembly Adan Duale, Deputy President William Ruto and President Kenyatta. It lasted less than an hour, according to those who attended.

Uhuru is said to have demanded discipline and cooperation from his Jubilee Party MPs as Parliament resumed sittings yesterday.

“Parliamentary Group meetings are not optional. They are mandatory. Because it is through this kind of sessions where we come together on critical matters that concern Jubilee as a party,&rdquo

Sources told the Star yesterday that Uhuru has demanded all MPs sponsored to Parliament through Jubilee must toe the party line and secure the government agenda.

The Presidential Strategic Communications Unit in it dispatch said that Uhuru emphasised the need for Members of Parliament to work as a team in ensuring that the ruling party delivers on the Big Four agenda.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we deliver on the pledges we made to Kenyans in line with our party manifesto,” State House quoted the President as saying.

The President, who was visibly concerned about the Tuesday attendance, is said to have told his MPs that the Jubilee Party PG meetings were “not voluntary”.

MPs from the meeting have, off the record for fear of being reprimanded, said that the warnings by the President cannot be taken lightly.

Uhuru is said to have also warned that he and his deputy Ruto, who also attended the meeting, will not tolerate wrangles within the party.

Related: MP Sudi backs Jubilee's bid to punish defiant Keter, Kangogo, and Tiren

This warning comes at a time when there are reports that some MPs were preparing to reject some of Uhuru's nominees to the Cabinet on Wednesday.

It also comes weeks after some of the party's MPs were kicked out of parliamentary committees' leadership positions following direct orders from Uhuru.

Last month Uhuru summoned MPs from four committees after some of them defied the party's directive to resign from the committees they were elected to head.

These were Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, Moiben’s Silas Tiren, Marakwet MP David Bowen and Emgwen's Alex Kosgey.

The four were accused of defying the party's directive on equitable sharing of parliamentary positions to accommodate all regions.

During the Tuesday meeting, the Star has learnt that some of the MPs who feel aggrieved failed to attend the PG, leading to Uhuru's warning.

According to Uhuru's press team, the President called for rapid implementation of legislation that will secure delivery of the Big Four agenda.

Uhuru said that both the party and the Executive were focused on a legislative agenda that will ensure swift execution of the Big Four.

The Big Four plan includes the provision of affordable housing, universal healthcare, food security and enhanced manufacturing.

Uhuru cited the Energy Bill, Land Index Bill, Roads Bill and Cybercrime Bill as some of the legislation that should be given priority.

“We need to pass laws that will enable us to achieve the agenda that will transform the lives of Kenyans. There is no time. We have to maximise the resources at our disposal,” the President said.

The President also said the names of members of the Judicial Service Commission have been forwarded to Parliament for further action.

The PG meeting agreed to work closely to support the Big Four agenda through legislation and approval of the Budget provisions.

Ruto said supporting the Big Four agenda would help in securing the President’s legacy and ensure that the Jubilee manifesto achieves its targets.

The Deputy President asked members to work towards ensuring that Jubilee remains a vibrant party that unites the country.

“We formed Jubilee as a party of all regions that will remove the politics that breed division, hatred and ethnicity. We will continue to share with you the vision that makes Jubilee a party that is focused on bringing together all Kenyans,” Ruto said.

Duale and Tuju also addressed the meeting.

Read: House Committee failed Kenyans in vetting role


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