Former Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe is engineering a mass walkout of members opposed to Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid.
Murathe, who unexpectedly resigned as vice chairman on Sunday, said those opposed to Ruto will form a new coalition to stop the DP from succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“We are ready to form a new coalition and I can tell you for sure it will crush Ruto and his group. I can tell him for free that he will be lucky to be an opposition leader,” Murathe told the Star yesterday.
On Sunday night, Murathe said that he was forming a stop-Ruto movement.
“We are dealing with a personality [Ruto] whom some of us believe is not suitable for that office. He has his supporters, we have our own people who are thinking alike. We will have these formations and Kenyans will select which one will work best for them,” Murathe said during an interview on KTN news on Sunday night.
It is said that Murathe is planning to either join an existing party or form a totally new one. The new party will then form an alliance with Raila Odinga’s ODM, Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper and ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi — with one presidential candidate.
Murathe is vehemently opposed to Ruto’s bid,saying the DP is unfit to lead Kenya. He has pledged to do everything possible to stop Ruto, including going to the Supreme Court.
The emerging split and new formation are likely to radically alter the country’s political equation.
In an unprecedented move, allies of the Deputy President are demanding answers from President Kenyatta about why there is an onslaught against the DP by his close associates.
With the future of Jubilee now doubtful, 13 affiliate parties that folded to form it have convened crisis talks next week to review the situation and map their next steps.
The 18-month-old party was unveiled with glitz and fanfare as Uhuru’s re-election vehicle, which would then be used by Ruto to run for President in 2022.
Ruto’s allies have now trained their guns on party secretary general Raphael Tuju — another Uhuru ally — whom they insist must also quit. Tuju, like his boss, has termed the frenetic 2022 campaigning premature and unnecessary.
Calling for Tuju’s resignation are Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Nelson Koech (Belgut), Hillary Koskei (Kipkelion East) and Caleb Kositany (Soi). The lawmakers accuse Tuju of being used by “outsiders” to destabilise Jubilee from within.
“We brought Tuju into Jubilee not because he had any support but because we just wanted to create a national face for the party. He is now baggage and should be removed,” Sudi said.
Read: Whose side are you on? MPs ask Uhuru over Murathe
National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali yesterday told the Star they have convened a crisis meeting next week of the defunct 13 Jubilee affiliates to to confront the onslaught against Ruto
Washiali, former leader of UDF, said the parties were demanding answers from Uhuru about why Ruto was being demeaned.
“We sacrificed our parties and formed Jubilee. We dissolved our parties on the slogan that ‘Tuko Pamoja’. But it appears we are not together. We want to get answers,” the Mumias East MP said.
The vocal MP allied to the DP attributed Jubilee’s troubles to the handshake between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga on March 9.
“All was well until President Uhuru brought Raila Odinga in through the backdoor. You can’t bring a man we defeated in an election through the backdoor,” Washiali protested
It’s the first time Jubilee MPs are directly taking on Uhuru in a clear signal that the gloves are off in the ruling party.
But speaking yesterday in Mombasa, an agitated Uhuru scoffed at some leaders, whom he did not name. He emphasised that greed for power cannot supersede national interests.
“Individual interests of leaders should not be allowed to override the welfare of Kenyans. We need to work together to ensure Kenyans get affordable houses, universal health coverage, create jobs through enhancing manufacturing and ensuring food security and nutrition” President Kenyatta said.
The head of state was speaking when he presided over the ground-breaking ceremony for the Mama Ngina waterfront regeneration project in Mombasa.
The President said there was nothing wrong for him to work with Raila, the former Prime Minister, for the benefit of more than 45 million Kenyans, saying people should stop politicising the cooperation.
“For instance, what is wrong if Raila says we will work together to achieve Universal Health Coverage? What is wrong if we work together to develop Mombasa and make it rival Dubai?” President Kenyatta asked.
The head of state commended the former Prime Minister for putting aside personal interests and agreeing to the handshake to unite the country.
In Parliament yesterday, two MPs challenged Uhuru to come out and state his position Murathe’s anti-Ruto remarks.
MPs John Waluke (Sirisia) and said while they still believe Uhuru will support Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid, they said it would wise for him him to distance himself from Murathe.
“Who is sending Murathe to abuse the DP? The President should come out clearly and state his position. Some of his dogs are barking and we do not know who is sending them,” Waluke told journalist at a press conference at Parliament Buildings.
Mucheke said that were it not for Ruto, Jubilee could not be in power now, celebrating the exit of Murathe.
Nelson Koech told the Star Ruto’s presidential bid is unstoppable, urging Mt Kenya region to stand with the DP.
“Our brothers and sisters and Mt Kenyatta should not accept to be swayed by propaganda peddled around by some individuals. The DP has worked with the President in harmony and we all know what he has done,” he said.
Caleb Kositany added, “The narrative they are trying to sell to Kenyans is that the DP is corrupt, which is not true. What we know for sure is that the dynasties are crumbling and their time is here. It is time for a common Kenyan too to ascend to power. Kenyans are determined to end the hold on power.”
Despite promising to unite the country by spelling doom to political parties founded on tribe — not ideological principles Jubilee’s promise dream of a two-decade reign is a mirage.
President Kenyatta’s succession battle and claims of behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to block Ruto in 2022 could have combined to kill the Jubilee ‘dream.’