AfricaPress-Kenya: Strategy and timing. This is what has split allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta on whether or not to push through the latest push to remove Deputy President William Ruto as Jubilee deputy party leader.
Whereas some in the party’s top hierarchy want the deputy president’s immediate removal from Jubilee’s leadership in an escalation of a battle ahead of the 2022 General Election, another group sees no hurry just yet.
The Standard understands that this group reckons that the DP’s removal should be put on hold and used as a trump card by the president in future political battles in the larger scheme of national politics.
The scheme to fire the DP from the party leadership has dragged on since last October, with those keen on pushing him out agitating for a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to adopt the recommendation of the powerful National Management Committee (NMC).
The latest development has forced NMC to convene another meeting this morning to review the decision.
Also on the cards is a decision by Jubilee Party to scale down political activities in solidarity with Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, which lost its party chairman and the nation’s president, John Pombe Magufuli.
Yesterday, Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju and Vice Chairman David Murathe confirmed that the meeting will take place, preceding a yet-to-be-announced NEC meeting.
Tuju declined to share details of the agenda, saying he will wait for the top organ to adopt it before making it public.
“We have a National Management Committee meeting tomorrow, but I can neither confirm nor deny if that (Ruto’s removal) would be on the agenda. I cannot talk of an agenda before it is adopted by the meeting,” said Tuju.
But Murathe confirmed that the meeting will deliberate on the recommendation by NMC to fire Ruto as the deputy party leader.
“Jubilee NMC will meet tomorrow at 11am to recap recommendations of ejection of the deputy party leader as we await convening of NEC by the party leader who can equally delegate to the party chairman,” said Murathe.
Jubilee Advisory Council chairman Albert Nyaundi, who is a member of NEC, denied any split on the quest to throw Ruto out of the ruling party.
“There is absolutely no split in the party on any issue. The party’s top leadership is still as was constituted in 2016. Only the Deputy Secretary General Caleb Kositany was relieved of his duties and replaced by Joshua Kutuny,” said Nyaundi.
“Of course, in there will be a few members, like from URP, who are Tangatanga sympathisers. Jubilee is a democratic party and not totalitarian. The majority will have their way while the minority will have their say,” he added.
At the same time, Murathe said the meeting will also discuss the forthcoming by-elections in Bonchari, Juja and Garissa County.
Jubilee has settled on Susan Njeri, the widow of former Juja MP Francis Waititu for the Juja parliamentary seat, John Opore for Bonchari and Abdul Haji, son of the late Senator Yusuf Haji, for Garissa.
The ruling party is also waiting for the verdict of the Political Parties Tribunal on the six nominated senators it expelled. They are Isaac Mwaura, Millicent Omanga, Mary Seneta, Falhada Dekow, Naomi Waqo and Victor Prengei.
NMC had already made the bold decision to remove Ruto as the party’s deputy leader and forwarded the decision to the NEC that is chaired by the president.
Uhuru’s allies in Jubilee have accused Ruto of sabotage and faulted his association with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), an affiliate party of Jubilee.
Tuju had said that the NMC – the second most powerful organ of the party and which sets agenda for the NEC – had resolved to fire Ruto as the deputy party leader.
“The NMC discussed the matter and resolved to remove the DP as per the party constitution. The matter is active, we have the recommendations of NMC and now only waiting for the party leader to convene a NEC meeting to deliberate on the matter,” Tuju had said.
Today’s meeting comes in the backdrop of an uproar by Ruto allies, who claimed that Uhuru has no powers to sack Ruto from the position.
They said it was only the National Delegates Convention (NDC) that can ratify his removal.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said NMC and NEC have no powers to remove the DP from the position and dared Uhuru’s allies to convene the NDC.
“NMC has no powers to remove the DP as the deputy party leader. That decision can only be made by the NDC. Even NEC has no such power,” he said.
“The problem we have is that Jubilee stopped following the law. Any changes they have done, including in the two Houses of Parliament, have been done in total violation of the law and sheer impunity,” he added.
According to the Jubilee constitution, NDC is composed of all members of the National Governing Council, county whips, county majority and minority leaders, county delegates and seven representatives from each of the 290 constituencies.
“The National Delegates Convention shall be the supreme organ of the party and shall determine the party’s policies,” states the party’s constitution.
NDC has powers to elect from among the eligible members of the party, the national officials, nominate the Jubilee candidate for election as president and deputy president, among other roles.
Kositany, who is also the Soy MP, even dared the president’s allies to sponsor Ruto’s impeachment motion instead of engaging in shadow boxing.