ON DEATHBED?

Wrangles rock Jubilee as 2022 beckons

Some party members have expressed fears the party might suffer another humiliation in Kiambaa by-election

In Summary
  • Officials say President is committed to ensuring that Jubilee lives beyond 2022.
  • The party suffered humiliating defeats in the three by-elections held on May 18.
Jubilee Party headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi
Jubilee Party headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party is in turmoil and is facing the prospect of a bumpy ride to next year's General Election.

Key figures within Jubilee have expressed concerns that the party could be on its deathbed and are calling on the leadership to take urgent measures to save it. 

The party suffered defeats in the three by-elections held on May 18, one in a constituency that was considered its stronghold.

Last month's by-elections in Bonchari, Juja and Rurii ward saw the ruling party compete with ODM and the United Democratic Alliance associated with William Ruto.

A move by a good number of MPs to rally behind Ruto and UDA has complicated matters for Jubilee.

Already, some party members have expressed fears that Jubilee might suffer another defeat in Kiambaa constituency where it has fielded Kariri Njama.

Njama will battle UDA's John Njuguna Wanjiku and PEP's Raymond Kuria in the July 15 by-election.

Though Njama is considered a strong candidate, there are fears divisions within the party could derail his campaigns for the seat.

After the defeat last month, secretary general Raphael Tuju said the party had graciously accepted the result and taken note of the mistakes made and would make amends going forward.

Deputy secretary general Joshua Kutuny said "our party is here to stay " and assured members the outfit will roar ahead of 2022.

Speaking to the Star, the Cherang'any MP said it is the Tangatanga wing that is trying to portray the party as dead.

He said the President is committed to ensuring that Jubilee lives beyond 2022. "Jubilee is a strong party. We will soon be unveiling our plans to revamp the party, " he said.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has been campaigning for UDA, asking Kiambaa residents to bury Jubilee Party after he killed it in Juja.

George Koimburi of the People's Empowerment Party headed by Kuria beat Susan Njeri with 12,159 votes against 5,746.

Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba kicked off a storm when she said it was time Jubilee went back to the drawing board.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru is among leaders who have brought to the fore the turmoil within Jubilee.

Waiguru has called for efforts to revamp the party and introduce a new strategy ahead of the 2022 General Election.

Waiguru said on her social media platforms that Jubilee had lost its glory and needed to find ways to regain its political grip.

“The rains have beaten us. Our fortunes are dwindling. Intense introspection is demanded,” she said.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu speaking to Inooro TV on Friday concurred that there is trouble in Jubilee.

"I agree that Jubilee Party is in its deathbed in ICU where it can come back alive or dead. But we believe it will live,” he said.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi has already signalled that he could cut links with the party. The county boss is of the view that Jubilee Party was founded on the vision of a united nation but the dream collapsed along the way.

In Kiambaa, there are signs that Jubilee will suffer a defeat unless it changes its campaign strategy.

Supporters have warned elected leaders to keep off and allow the locals to drum up support for their candidate. They have cited the insincerity of the leaders.

Kiambu governor's political adviser Bishop Kariuki Ngari alias Gakuyo said the party risks losing the seat unless local leaders join the campaign trail.

Gakuyo said that there is a lot of internal fighting among Jubilee MPs.

Gakuyo termed Njama as the most popular and formidable candidate and all that he needs is support from other leaders.

“We are seeing other MPs campaigning for their candidate. We should not repeat the mistakes we made in Juja. Saying that you haven't been given money is neither here nor there,” he said.

UDA on the other hand is leaving nothing to chance and the campaign strategy being deployed by its luminaries is fresh and is resonating with the voters, particularly the youth.

Among the politicians who are campaigning for the UDA candidate are Murang'a Senator Irungu Kanga'ta and MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Kimani Ichung'wa (Kikuyu) and Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu).