Uhuru and Ruto to bar politicians from party posts amid discontent
The over 50 high-end branded vehicles for campaign. [PHOTO: WAWERU MURAGE/STANDARD
NAIROBI: President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, will bar elected leaders and those contesting political seats from becoming interim officials of the Jubilee Party.
Highly-placed sources within Government said Uhuru and Ruto have resolved that JP office bearers must be people whose duties do not conflict with their political aspirations. According to our sources, the decision was reached to avoid cases where a credible contestant is forced to defect for fear their rival, a party official, will manipulate the nominations.
The officials to be unveiled by the Jubilee coalition leadership during the launch of the party on Saturday will hold office until substantive office bearers are elected right from the grassroots to the national level.
Senior officials close to both President Kenyatta and his deputy corroborated this information, but would not discuss possible names of interim officials.
“What I can tell you with clarity for now is that there is no sitting politician or aspirant for political office will make it to the list of interim officials. Both the President and his deputy are very clear. They have also said the same before but somehow politicians did not take them seriously. As for the names, that is the prerogative of both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, and we still don’t have any indication,” said the source.
The President seemed to articulate that position last month when he received the new party’s constitution and nomination rules.
“Those seeking elective positions should not be part of the process of nominating candidates to guarantee transparency and fairness. The contestants will be elected democratically,” President Kenyatta then said at State House.
A number of politicians within The National Alliance (TNA) and United Republican Party (URP) have been touted as possible party officials, but officials close to the Jubilee administration have disputed the list.
By close of business yesterday, groups of politicians were still lobbying officials close to President and his deputy for possible inclusion in the team of JP interim officials.
The scramble for the positions has reportedly stoked a general feeling of isolation, especially among officials of the small parties who, too, want a bigger stake in new party’s hierarchy. A dozen parties affiliated to the ruling coalition will dissolve on Thursday to form Jubilee Party.
The jostling especially for the positions of chairperson, secretary general, treasurer, organising secretary and director of elections is fueling internal rivalry in the coalition. President Kenyatta and Ruto are slated to fill the positions of party leader and deputy party leader respectively.
The President’s TNA, DP’s URP and Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka’s New Ford Kenya are tussling for the secretary general’s post.
“We have had negotiations since last night (Monday) to strike a deal on the post of chair and SG. TNA, URP and New Ford Kenya are claiming entitlement. The choice we make will build or destroy this party,” said a top Jubilee official.
“Each party is adamant on their choice. Others are plotting to retain JAP officials if we don’t reach a consensus. The current JAP SG Veronica Maina, who is also a public servant, has been floated for the chairperson’s position,” added the official, referring to other factions scheming to retain the current officials of Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP), which is being renamed to Jubilee Party.
But given the officials of JAP are predominantly from Central and Rift Valley, it is alienating other quarters who want the leadership of the new party, even on an interim basis, to reflect the face of Kenya.
According some MPs, JAP has more representation from URP with the CEO Nixon Korir tipped to head the secretariat of the new party.
The conflict about the distribution of delegate lists is another headache ahead of the party’s launch.
“We had planned to have 8,000 delegates but it will now be 10,000 delegates,” said Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi, who co-chaired merger talks. URP party members from Nakuru County stormed its offices over claims that non-members had replaced them.
“We have gone to the Registrar of Political Parties to verify the list. We have ascertained that individuals listed as delegates were bona fide members of the parties. We have conformed to all legal issues in terms of preparation for dissolution and launch of the new party,” said URP Secretary General Fred Muteti.
Organisers are now dealing with the obstacle of genuine delegates. TNA will have the largest number at 1,650 while Alliance Party of Kenya of Murungi will have 620 delegates.