Uhuru Kenyatta’s new Jubilee Party finally taking off
The creation of the new Jubilee Party to spearhead President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election bid in 2017 is in its final stages. It is expected to be launched in June.
The steering committee driving the merger of parties into Jubilee will will meet today at the Jubilee headquarters in Lavington.
Steering committee co-chair Noah Wekesa said the meeting will unveil the road map for the new party. Uhuru’s TNA, Deputy President William Ruto’s URP and at least eight smaller parties will all be collapsed into the single new Jubilee Party.
“Technical teams are currently harmonizing manifestos for the various political parties who are willing to merge. At the same time we are synchronizing nomination rules. We expect that work to be completed tomorrow,” the former Kwanza MP said.
“It is about willing partners. If somebody is not willing why should force them? It is not our duty to persuade, cajole or force anyone. Only those who believe that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto will win in 2017 can join,” he said.
Ahead of the launch, expected in June, the steering committee will carry out activities to popularise the party. There will be meetings with grassroots leaders from Mt. Kenya, Coast and North Eastern within the next three weeks.
There will then be a second Interim National Governing Council meeting chaired by Uhuru and Ruto. The Governing Council brings together Senators, Members of the National Assembly, Governors and MCAs. The first one was held in December 15, 2015.
In the December meeting, it was announced that the new party will be called Jubilee Party and its slogan will be ‘Tuko Pamoja ( We are Together)’.
In today’s meeting, the steering committee will review the internal structures needed to identify individuals to lead the various proposed departments.
Ten organs within the new party will coordinate the campaign for Uhuru’s second term.
Deputy President William Ruto will lead Political Mobilisation which will work closely with Political Strategy.
Other departments are Finance and Administration, Communication, Research, Legal Affairs, Youth, Security and Women.
The County Mobilisation organ will be led by Governors while Resource Mobilisation will be led by businessmen.
The steering committee is also working to get undecided parties to join the merger including Party of National Unity, Ford People, Chama Cha Uzalendo, Kanu, Democratic Party and Narc.
In April the National Assembly passed an amendment to the Political Parties Act that will allow political parties to merge. This will save Jubilee the long registration process of forming a new party. Now URP and other parties can just merge with the Jubilee Alliance Party which will then be renamed simply the Jubilee Party.
New parties are registered provisionally for six months and
then have to satisfy the Registrar of Political Parties that they have party offices in at least 24 counties and at least 10,000 members in 24 counties.
The amendment passed by the National Assembly is now awaiting the approval of the Senate.
“(1)A political party may merge with another political party by — (a) forming a new political party; or (b) merging into an already registered political party,” the amendment states.
JAP was formed for the same purpose of merging TNA and URP. It already has grassroots structures including offices across the country.
In March, the steering committee of the Jubilee merger put off the launch of the new party saying that the law needed to be amended first.
Yesterday Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki, a member of the steering committee, said the merger had also been delayed by the need to ensure broad based support as well as legal lacuna that could disenfranchise some elected leaders.
He was optimistic that the amendments would insulate the President, Deputy President, Governors and Deputy Governors from losing their positions after the merger.
if the Senate concurs, then the amendments will be sent to the President to assent into law.
“We are going to pass the amendments for the sake of the nation. They are good for democracy, for parties and posterity. There is no need of politicizing the issue,” the Tharaka Nithi senator said.
Central Kenya Parliamentary Group Chair Dennis Waweru said the merger into the new Jubilee Party will unite Kenyans ahead of 2017.
“We have always supported the merger as Jubilee MPs. We are going to move en masse and use the party in 2017 to retain the Presidency,” Waweru said.
However some MPs from Rift Valley opposing the dissolution of URP into the new Jubilee Party.
A TNA lobby group also opposes the merger plans. The Women and Youth Leadership Alliance says it will dialogue with stakeholders from Friday onwards to block the dissolution of TNA.