Storm in Jubilee as Ruto men clash with Uhuru ally
Jubilee Party parliamentary leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto on Monday expressed fury at the comments made on Sunday by Mr David Murathe, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s right-hand man, suggesting that they had failed the president.
Mr Murathe launched a scathing attack on the Jubilee Party House leadership, citing instances he said they had gone contrary to the president’s wishes.
“We cannot have a situation where our party leadership in Parliament is opposing the government. When you start threatening that you will go against the government, what you are doing is actually casting aspersions on the judgment of the President,” Mr Murathe said at Kanjai PCEA church in Githunguri, Kiambu County, sparking a lot of debate online on Monday.
He announced that the conduct of the House leadership will be part of the agenda during the party’s retreat next week.
Mr Aden Duale leads Jubilee in the National Assembly, while Mr Kipchumba Murkomen leads it in the Senate.
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika are the majority whips in the National Assembly and the Senate respectively.
Mr Duale famously swore, on the floor of the House, to shoot down the name Sarah Serem, President Kenyatta’s nominee for the post of ambassador to China, while Mr Murkomen appeared to go against the government in his publicised comments on the Mau forest evictions.
“If you are a majority leader and you say you will throw out the name forwarded there by the President, what you are doing is undermining the appointing authority, when you are supposed to be rallying members to support the names the president sends,” said Mr Murathe.
Meanwhile, Mr Washiali, stands accused of leading efforts to censure Cabinet secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury), Adan Mohamed (East African Community) and former Agriculture CS Willy Bett over the poisonous sugar scandal.
On Mr Washiali, Mr Murathe said: “If you are the whip of the government, you are supposed to whip for the government. You cannot whip against it.”
A furious Mr Murkomen yesterday rubbished Mr Murathe’s comments, saying they were misplaced. “I do not respond to the likes of Murathe. Those are his personal opinions because, really, he is not a spokesperson for anybody,” Mr Murkomen said. On the planned retreat, Mr Murkomen acknowledged that while there were plans to have one, Mr Murathe was not the person to communicate it.
LEAKING PARTY MATTERS
“He should not arrogate himself the responsibility of leaking party matters before they are properly communicated.
As the Majority Leader in the Senate, once I have consulted with the party leader, we let our members know,” the Elgeyo Marakwet senator said.
Mr Washiali, for his part, said Mr Murathe does not understand the presidential system of government Kenya adopted in 2010.
“Let him go back to the Constitution and learn the role of Parliament. As it stands, the majority side does not necessarily mean the Executive. No, we no longer have the government and the Opposition sides in Parliament,” Mr Washiali said, defending his move to lobby for an amendment to have Cabinet secretaries held responsible for the entry of poisonous sugar.
“When Uhuru gives me the opportunity to serve and help him fight against corruption, where does Murathe come in?” he asked.
Notably, the three leaders Mr Murathe alluded to have led concerted efforts to drum up support for the DP for the 2022 State House race.
Mr Murathe also hinted at 2022, suggesting that the noise about supporting the DP is unnecessary.
“There was not a single time when the President said he will not support, and campaign for, the deputy president. So we find it unfair for sections of our leaders to divide our people into Uhuru and Ruto camps,” he said.
This comes as Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria challenged the party to include active politicians in the leadership, saying a strong party will require active politicians in key roles to counter internal turbulence.
“We are the only major political party with no space for politicians. The time has come for Jubilee Party to open up space for political participation. Party elections are long overdue,” Mr Kuria said on his Facebook page.
Contacted for comment, Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju responded: “What he said, I have nothing to add or subtract.”
Jubilee is led by Secretary-General Tuju, with Mr Nelson Dzuya as Chairman, and Mr Murathe as his deputy.
This is unlike the case in the Raila Odinga-led Orange Democratic Movement, which has governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) as deputy leaders, National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi as chairman, and Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok as his deputy.