President Uhuru allies plan to register party
PLANS are underway to register the Jubilee Alliance as the political party that President Uhuru Kenyatta will use in 2017 to defend his seat.
The initial plan was to have TNA, headed by Uhuru, and URP, headed by Deputy President William Ruto, merge to form the Jubilee Alliance Party.
This has however met with opposition by some party officials, mainly drawn from URP, who have maintained that Ruto’s party must remain independent and only work with Jubilee under a coalition as opposed to a political party.
On Monday the newly appointed URP chairman, Barre Shill, denied any plans to merge the two parties which came together and won the 2013 general election.
He however said that URP is open to any discussion in case the need to merge arises.
“We are happy in the coalition now and we have no plans to merge our party with TNA. We still no build it and that is why we are putting our house in order and gearing up to recruit more members,” he said.
“Politics in Kenya is dynamic, we will cross the bridge when we get there. The issue of a merger may come up and, of course, we are open-minded for any discussion,” he added.
The Jubilee Alliance is a four-party coalition and was established to support the joint presidential elections ticket of Uhuru and Ruto at the 2013 elections.
At the time of the elections, the Jubilee members were TNA, the National Rainbow Alliance led by Charity Ngilu, Ruto’s URP and the Republican Congress of Najib Balala, now the Mining secretary.
Sources within the two parties have now revealed that some officials in URP are concerned that a joint party would be overshadowed by the TNA group and be rendered irrelevant by the time of the next elections in 2017.
The idea to merge the two parties was mooted in August last year by Joshua Kuttuny and Nancy Gitau, both of them special advisors to the President.
The two Office of the President officials wanted the two parties merged into one with a joint secretariat.
The coalition has previously been embroiled in behind-the-scenes struggles pitting members of the two main parties,The National Alliance and United Republican Party, against each other.
Uhuru and Ruto have however kept up, at least in public, a consistently cordial relationship, despite their supporters’ being engaged in a cold war.
Some URP official have previously accused TNA of fomenting trouble in their party by sponsoring rebels. Specifically, they have claimed that TNA is behind Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto’s unyielding opposition to Deputy President Ruto.