Tussle looms over Jubilee party changes

Pro-Uhuru MPs demand overhaul of outfit's leadership

In Summary
  • The grassroots clean up ends on August 30.
  • Leaders to petition President to convene National Delegates Conference to decide fate of national office.
Kiambu Town MP Jude Jomo addresses journalists after meeting with Central Kenya parliamentarians at Windor Hotel, Nairobi on August 18, 2021 /DOUGLAS OKIDDY
Kiambu Town MP Jude Jomo addresses journalists after meeting with Central Kenya parliamentarians at Windor Hotel, Nairobi on August 18, 2021 /DOUGLAS OKIDDY

A major tussle looms in President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party with a section of MPs demanding a total overhaul of the outfit's leadership.

However, the Star has established that 2022 aspirants have separately petitioned the party that the changes cannot be spearheaded by sitting MPs.

Nine MPs from Mt Kenya region on Wednesday announced a cleanup exercise in the party to get rid of leaders they claim are responsible for the dwindling fortune of the outfit.

The statement was seen to be targeting Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju and vocal party vice chair David Murathe.

Speaking after a brainstorming meeting on Wednesday, the group announced a cleanup of the Jubilee house right from the grassroots to the national office.

“Following the Kiambaa by-election, we took time to engage with our party members and supporters at the grassroots. We sought to understand their views and sentiments about the direction of the party,” Kiambu Town MP Jude Njomo said.

“We have resolved that the party is due for a leadership overhaul that will see fresh, vibrant, youthful and persuasive leadership driving our vigorous grassroots campaigns.”

Kieni MP Kanini Kega said they will do everything to ensure they get rid of leaders responsible for the poor performance of the party.

"There are many ways to skin a cat, you can start from the bottom or the top but this time round the cat will be finally skinned," he said.

But the bid to overhaul the party could be protracted.

It has emerged that aspirants, mainly from Mt Kenya, are against Jubilee Party changes spearheaded by sitting MPs.

On Wednesday Tuju confirmed he was in receipt of the aspirants' petition and would present it to the Jubilee National Management Committee for directions. 

“Yes, I have received presentation from people calling themselves Jubilee Party Aspirants Forum who are also worried that if the revitalisation at the grassroots level is done only by the MPs, then as aspirants they will be disadvantaged,” he said.

"There are concern that MPs will only have their supporters as party leaders which will undermine the party at the grassroots."

He said he will table the concern before National Management Committee to give directions on how the party will approach the exercise.

The Jubilee SG however said plans to revitalise the party have always been on the cards and were slowed down by Covid-19.

“There is no conflict when it comes to the desire of the party to revitalise from grassroots level. The only reason why we had these delays is because of the Covid protocols,” Tuju told the Star on phone.

But speaking at the Windor Hotel, Jomo said the grassroots cleanup will end on August 30.

Thereafter they will ask the President to convene a National Delegates Conference to decide the fate of the national office.

“We have gone to the ground, we have heard the challenges. It is an open secret what is ailing the party. They (current office) are in interim basis and when time comes, the delegates will decide their fate,” added Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege.

Others at the meeting included Ruth Mwaniki (Kigumo), Mary wa Wamaua (Maragwa), Gichuki Mugambi (Othaya), Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Simon King'ara (Ruiru) and Kabinga Wachira (Mwea).

The leaders resolved they will not sit and watch a party that captured power twice, lose its vibrancy because of few leaders who have betrayed the course.

Even after the  exit of Deputy President William Ruto, there has been friction in Jubilee with some leaders seeking to have the party leadership drawn from Parliament.

Sources within Parliament said the plan is to replace Murathe and his team with MPs led by National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya as chairman.

Chege is also poised for a major post in the party with Kega touted for secretary general, a post currently held by Tuju.

Kimunya told the Star that the proposed overhaul followed concerns of the ruling party’s poor show in recent by-elections which portends a bleak future.

“Yes, it is true we are working on a rejuvenation of the ruling party following the disruption by some members, some of whom have since declared allegiance to another competing party,” the MP said.

“We are looking forward to a stronger, vibrant party that will participate in the 2022 elections, and carry forward the Jubilee vision and agenda into the future,” the Majority leader added.

But Tuju told the Star he had nothing to tell the plotters as such instances are normal in politics and can be experienced at any time.

“If I was to worry about plots, rumours and schemes, I will have no life. I cannot spare a moment to think about those things.”

“I have nothing to say. Like a Member of Parliament, there are always 10 or so people who want to take your seat in the next election. How can you then be worried about the people who want to contest with you in the next elections? You will lack sleep,” he said.

-Edited by SKanyara

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star