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February 23, 2019

Despite many voices, Jubilee still united

Jubilee party offices in Pangani Nairobi/FILE
Jubilee party offices in Pangani Nairobi/FILE

Over the last several months the hottest political discussion has been on whether the ruling party – Jubilee – is divided. This conversation was first given credence by Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen during an interview with Citizen TV. The Elgeyo Marakwet senator implied there was a difference in positions, including on issues like the President’s lifestyle audit call. But he cheekily suggested that it was a sign of internal democracy.

I have also been asked this question multiple times. My answer is simple; Jubilee is not divided. We have only one leader; President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the unchallenged head of the party. He has only one deputy party leader, William Ruto.

For Jubilee to actually be divided there would have to be two leaders, or two deputy leaders. What is happening is that some members are struggling to accept some of the decisions made by the party leader.

The party leader has declared that Jubilee will do three main things during this term. First, it will implement the Big Four agenda of affordable housing, manufacturing, universal healthcare and food security. On this everyone in the party is in agreement. In fact on this particular agenda even other parties, including NASA’s ODM and Wiper, have associated themselves with Jubilee and Uhuru.

Secondly, the party leader has initiated the Building Bridges project. This initiative brings him together with his main protagonist in the 2017 presidential election, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Uhuru is determined to ensure that Kenyans come together across the political divide to facilitate socioeconomic and political development. On this basis he has called upon all leaders, whether in Jubilee or in other parties, to cease competitive political activity and reach out to each other until the next election cycle.

This second decision has not been taken well by some. Ruto’s supporters especially view the Building Bridges initiative with a lot of suspicion. They think it is meant to disenfranchise Ruto from what had looked like a predestined trajectory to the presidency in 2022.

In what looks like a panic reaction, they have decided to ignore the party leader’s call to cease political campaigns and rolled out an elaborate campaign across the country thinly disguised as development tours. Ironically, this show of brazen disregard to Uhuru’s calls is being championed mainly by elected leaders from the party leader’s own Mt Kenya backyard, supported by those from Rift Valley.

The third decision taken by the Jubilee party leader is to prosecute an aggressive war on corruption. This war is hugely popular with the general public but for some reason it has elicited great resistance from some sections of the Jubilee membership. Incredibly, these sections claim that the fight against corruption is meant to stop their candidate from being President.

Tellingly, the sections that do not agree with the party leader’s decision are the same ones who have a problem with the Building Bridges project and are involved in premature 2022 campaigns.

But does this means that Jubilee Party is divided? No it is not. Jubilee is united behind Uhuru and Ruto. No one has challenged either for their positions or curved out an off-shoot. ‘Team Tangatanga’ and ‘Team Kitaeleweka’ are not separate parties.

They are just ideologies I actually introduced – on this page – to distinguish between members who support only one of the three Uhuru agenda (Big Four) and those supporting all three. But we are all one party.

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