RADICAL REFORMS WANTED

Sack Murathe and Tuju to save Jubilee, leaders tell Uhuru

They blame the two for being the main stumbling block to the growth and vibrancy of the party.

In Summary
  • Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the changes have to take place failure to which Jubilee will attract no potential aspirants in the August 2022 will.
  • Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba kicked off the storm on Wednesday evening when she said it is time the party should go back to the drawing board.
Jubilee party headquaters in Pangani Nairobi
Jubilee party headquaters in Pangani Nairobi
Image: FILE

Stung by the recent streak of losses in by-elections and low prospects, Jubilee Party leaders are now demanding radical changes ahead of 2022.

A section of senior members who spoke to the Star on Friday called for a comprehensive overhaul of the secretariat to bring on board fresh blood to give the party a new face.

Among the demands being made by the members to party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta is the removal of vice chairman David Murathe and secretary general Raphael Tuju.

They blame the two for being the main stumbling block to the growth and vibrancy of the party that of late has become a theatre of fights.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui
Governor Lee Kinyanjui
Image: FILE

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the changes have to take place failure to which Jubilee will attract no potential aspirants in the August 2022 will.

In a phone interview, Kinyanjui who will be defending his seat said “there is something wrong in the party that needs to be fixed as soon as possible”.

“I have nothing personal against  Murathe and Tuju. They are good people but in terms of party management, we have lost it. We want new faces who can inspire confidence and attract new members as well as retaining those who are in now,” Kinyanjui said.

Kinyanjui, a close ally of Uhuru, said a pointer that the party is heading in the wrong direction is the recent poor show in the by-elections in which the outfit was been defeated in it’s perceived strongholds.

The governor said sitting MCAs, senators, members of the National Assembly and governors who were elected on Jubilee and  re allied to the President are being put in a precarious political situation as the party's plummeting fortunes puts their political careers at risk.

“People have respect for the President. He has good programmes for Kenyans, which are well outlined in the Jubilee manifesto. Members are worried that we are staring at bigger problems as we head to 2022. We need to put our house in order so that those of us who believe in the Jubilee programmes will carry on,” he said.

He added, “People should stop bravado and chest-thumping. It will not help anyone or the party. A political party is a vehicle for aspirations of the people. Parties are not about individuals who want to express arrogance at the expense of the good deeds and future of the party.”

Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju addressing the media on the Wajir West By election on April 10, 2019.
Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju addressing the media on the Wajir West By election on April 10, 2019.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

The party was expected to to conduct party elections for new officeholders  in March last year given that the three-year term for most of the interim officials expired November 2019.

However the polls could not take place because of the coronavirus disruptions and what is said to be failure by the President to sanction the exercise.

Most of the national interim officials, save for secretary general Raphael Tuju, were picked to steer the party on November 5, 2016.

Tuju was installed as Jubilee SG and head of the Jubilee party secretariat in March 2017.

Murathe on January 6, 2019 publicly resigned as Jubilee vice chairman at the height of escalating hostilities with Ruto, but he is said to have never formally submitted any resignation letter to Uhuru.

The wars in the party and the poor performance in the by-elections have irked  majority of members  who are now demanding changes.

In a span of six months, the ruling party has lost five by-elections which are right in its supposed strongholds.

On Tuesday, the party was beaten in the Juja parliamentary contest, a constituency in the President’s Kiambu county, as well as the Rurii ward by-election in neighbouring Nyandarua county.

The Jubilee candidate Susan Waititu  was beaten by a huge margin by George Koimburi, running on Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s People’s Empowerment Party.

In Rurii ward, Francis Muraya of Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA party won by garnering 4,303 votes against Jubilee’s Peter Thinji who got 3,143.

In March, Jubilee was beaten hands down in the London ward by-election in Nakuru county.

UDA’s Antony Nzuki carried the day after defeating Francis Njoroge of Jubilee with 1,707 votes against 1,385.

Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba kicked off the storm on Wednesday evening when she said it is time the party should go back to the drawing board. On Friday, she insisted that democracy should prevail in the party.

Kiambu woman representative Gathoni Wamuchomba.
Kiambu woman representative Gathoni Wamuchomba.
Image: FILE

Speaking to the Star on phone, Wamuchomba concurred with Kinyanjui that Jubilee members are concerned by the manner in which the affairs of the party are being conducted.

Wamuchomba linked the losses in the by-elections to the method used by the party  headquarters to identify candidates, saying interviews instead of primaries  deny supporters freedom of choice.

“Is interviewing a democratic route? To me and majority of us it is not. Party officials are not on the ground. We are on the ground with the people and members should be let to pick their leaders freely,” she said.

In yet another move that is likely to fuel fears of another loss, on Thursday evening Tuju announced that the party had once again opted for interviews rather than conducting nominations for aspirants of the Muguga ward and Kiambaa constituency by-election.

All aspirants for the seats have been asked to present themselves at the party headquarters on Saturday for the interviews.

In a statement Tuju said successful candidates shall be presented with a nomination certificate in accordance with the party rules.

"We regret any inconvenience caused by the change of mode of nominations," Tuju said.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni in Kiganjo, Nyeri, on Friday, July 3, 2020
Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni in Kiganjo, Nyeri, on Friday, July 3, 2020
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni said it is high time Jubilee starts rebranding ahead of 2022, saying if no urgent action is taken, the party will be barren in the next election.

Kioni who spoke to the Star on phone said the ruling outfit lost in the recent by-election because of the choice of candidates.

He had warned the party that it settled on the wrong candidate for Rurii ward in his home county of Nyandarua.

“Jubilee needs to see that the country has moved. Kenyans are going to see the character of the candidate and the party. It is not that UDA won in Nyandarua; it is the people of Nyandarua who won in the by-election by saying it does not matter the party one is using . You bring to us a person of suspicious character , we will reject. And that is a warning written on the wall,” he said.

He added, “Jubilee should do soul searching and understand that people do not want people of dubious character.  And if they continue on that old chapter that it is the party that is in government and we will win, they are not going to win any election. No more chest-thumping , otherwise in 2022 they are not likely to win any seat. I have nothing personal against Jubilee.”

However, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said Jubilee party is beyond salvage as it has been captured by individuals with selfish interests.

Raigathi told the Star that the party betrayed the confidence and supporti had across the country by cannibalising members instead of building the party.

“Jubilee was wrecked from within by the likes of Murathe and company. Jubilee losing five seats in a very short time tells you not all is not well in the party that was once popular,” he said.

“Jubilee lost it’s traction long ago when it refused to be governed by its constitution and it is now on the path of self-destruction because of arrogance and mistreatment of party members,” he added.

Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe.
Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe.
Image: FILE

Murathe dismissed the claims that they are mismanaging the party, pointing out that it is not a must that they win elections which they  participate in.

Speaking during an interview on KTN on Thursday night, the close confidant of the President appeared to link the poor performance in the recent by-elections to poor turnout associated with the election being conducted on working days.

“The party does not vote; it is the people who vote . The party creates, facilitates , mobilises and organises that people turn out to vote . When you are dealing with a by-election it is not like people will not go to their jobs and go to vote when it is not a public holiday,” he said.

Edited by Henry Makori