UhuRuto to launch 2017 campaign at Afraha thanksgiving

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UhuRutoPresident Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are expected to launch their campaign for re-election in 2017 after a prayer service at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Saturday, April 16.

On Tuesday in Paris Uhuru called on “all Kenyans of goodwill” to join a thanksgiving service in Afraha following the collapse of the cases against Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang at the International Criminal Court.

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The choice of Afraha Stadium is symbolic as the pair unveiled the UhuRuto 2013 campaign there on December 2, 2012.

The two are expected to make “The Second Afraha Declaration” on April 16 to formally unveil their re-election campaign with the Jubilee Party.

The ICC was a central theme of the 2013 presidential campaign as Uhuru and Ruto campaigned as victims of a neo-colonial conspiracy. Now they will be able to campaign as the victors who successfully asserted Kenya’s sovereignty over the ICC.

In 2012 Uhuru and Ruto said that they had chosen Nakuru town as the centre of Kenya where all communities are found.

Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi and former minister Noah Wekesa are joint chairpersons of the steering committee spearheading the merger of TNA, URP and other smaller parties into Jubilee Party.

“The Jubilee Party will now be more vibrant as Ruto will now focus his energies and time on uniting Kenyans under the Jubilee umbrella,” Kiraitu told the Star from London.

Noah Wekesa said in Nairobi that all parties wishing to merge with Jubilee should finalise their dissolution within the next few days.

“We are finalising talks with all parties under the coalition and they will be dissolved so that we can make this big announcement to Kenyans in ten days,” Wekesa said.

On Tuesday President Kenyatta initially sent just a short statement after the termination of Ruto’s case but quickly recalled it and sent a lengthier one that included the Afraha invitation.

“When the ICC case against me was dropped, I told Kenyans that I could not celebrate until all the cases had been terminated. So, today, I call upon all Kenyans of goodwill to join us at the Afraha Stadium,” Uhuru said.

“This will be an opportunity for prayers for healing, reconciliation and unity of Kenya as we push on the path of inclusive prosperity for all,” Uhuru said.

Reportedly Uhuru and Ruto consulted by telephone yesterday after the ICC decision and decided that this was the best time to

“reignite” the Jubilee political agenda.

Jubilee senior leaders will meet early next week after the President has returned from his trip to Europe to decide the Afraha programme and how to launch the 2017 campaign after the prayer service.

Parliament is expected to pass the Bill amending the Political Parties Act after it resumes on Tuesday next week. Key amendments in the Bill spell out how political parties can merge.

All the parties in the Jubilee coalition are likely to merge into the Jubilee Alliance Party, which was set up last year, once the amendments are passed. However the name will be changed to simply Jubilee Party.

A retreat in Naivasha last November on how to merge the Jubilee parties concluded that Ruto was best placed to campaign politically while President Kenyatta focused on policy issues in the run-up to the elections in August 2017.

However the pending ICC case made it difficult for Ruto to actively campaign until now without the scrutiny of the court.

Uhuru and Ruto unveiled their slogan “Tuko Pamoja ( We are Together)” at the 2012 Afraha rally. That slogan was then officially adopted by party at a meeting in State House in December 2015. That meeting also decided to change the name from Jubilee Alliance Party to the simpler Jubilee Party.

The meeting decided the new Jubilee party logo should be two hands clasped in a yellow circle inside a red ring. The official colours are yellow, red and white.

On April 16 in Africa, Uhuru and Ruto will reassure their supporters that they have delivered on their promises, according to inside sources.

They will argue that they are now ready to concentrate on national government as the ICC cases are over.

Ruto will also use the occasion to kill off any suspicions that he might leave Jubilee and run against Uhuru in 2017.

According to Jubilee insiders, Uhuru has already set the nationalist tone in his State of the Nation address. Uhuru and Ruto want to show that it was not just the ICC cases that brought them together.

“My Deputy and I campaigned and were elected on a platform to unite and reconcile our motherland. When you entrusted the leadership of the country to our administration, you made us responsible for the healing and reconciliation of our people,” Uhuru said in the address last Thursday.

“We are elated that the case is over.

We can now put more focus on uniting and developing the country as this has been the goal of both the President and the Deputy President,” TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja said yesterday.

Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando said that they are focused on making JAP the most popular party by embarking on mass recruitment.

“We have registered our people very well and we will continue to register them. We also working with others and bringing more parties to JAP to form the strongest party for Uhuru’s re-election bid,” Kabando said yesterday.

-the-star.co.ke

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