Tangatanga, Kieleweke pull apart in clamour for Jubilee dominance

Legislators from the Rift Valley region, who say they will not abandon Deputy President William Ruto in his pursuit for the presidency, give journalists insight into their two-day meeting at Lake Naivasha Resort in Nakuru County on December 6, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • In its constitution, the party should have elections before March 2020. It is these elections that could see Ruto’s camp at the headquarters.
  • A meeting held two months ago where elected leaders and other opinion shapers were summoned to State Lodge Sagana, Nyeri, did not assuage the restless Mt Kenya region.

Jubilee Party faces its biggest challenge of unity in 2020.

Anticipated party elections, restless Mount Kenya region and Building Bridges Initiative will prove whether the party will hold together towards the 2022 succession elections.

The party is already divided into two camps — Tangatanga and Kieleweke — with the former made up of ardent supporters of Deputy President William Ruto and his quest to be president.

Seamless party elections, itself a gargantuan task, will catapult the Jubilee to be in pole position to be the first party since Kanu to recapture power.

But the party has had a fair share of its challenges since its inception in 2016.

In 2019, the party did not hold a single Parliamentary Group meeting, buttressing the notion that members are divided.

That party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are not reading from the same script has fuelled fears that the party might break up.


Interestingly, a casual look at the party and its organs shows that Mr Ruto enjoys the support of the majority in its organs.

In Parliament, almost all Jubilee leaders — majority leaders and party whips — sing Mr Ruto’s tune.

Within the National Executive Council and Elections Board, Mr Ruto also finds favour among the majority of the members.

That would mean he can easily force through his agenda when push comes to shove.

DP’s aides have intimated to the Sunday Nation that he has been contemplating making a bold statement by taking charge at Pangani’s party headquarters by personally visiting the offices as he prepares to take over the party.

In its constitution, the party should have elections before March 2020. It is these elections that could see Ruto’s camp at the headquarters.


The restive Mt Kenya region will also be closely watched as Tangatanga and Kieleweke jostle for space.

Already some members have started battling it out for positions, with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria having made his intentions clear to wrestle the influential secretary-general position from Mr Raphael Tuju.

The acerbic MP had in the past few months been associated with a new political outfit — The Transformational Alliance Party — but it seems it did not get the intended traction.

Others who are likely to throw their hats in the ring for national leadership positions include MPs Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Alice Wahome (Kandara), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South), Cecily Mbarire (nominated), and Joshua Kuttuny (Cherangany).

It would also be expected that Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru may also try her luck in party politics.

Early this month, President Kenyatta, for the umpteenth time, promised to visit the region to put it in order.


A meeting held two months ago where elected leaders and other opinion shapers were summoned to State Lodge Sagana, Nyeri, did not assuage the restless region.

It’s instructive to note that barely a month later, Tangatanga MPs converged in Embu where they stated their support for the BBI report.

They also drew up a schedule of rallies to educate the masses on the initiative.

It was, therefore, not surprising a few days later at a function in Mang’u, Kiambu, that President Kenyatta also promised to visit the region.

Political observers in the region predicted that neither the MPs nor the President would honour their promise.

But President Kenyatta cannot be wished away and his game plan to whip into line the Tangatanga MPs will be closely watched.

Though he has not publicly stated that he won’t support the DP, his utterances that 'only God knows who the next President would be' is a departure from his statements before the 2017 election that Mr Ruto would be his successor.

But the bigger headache for his ardent followers remains who the President has in mind to succeed him.


Mr David Murathe, a close associate of the President, has stated on several occasions that they would follow Uhuru Kenyatta wherever he leads them.

Historically, big players make bold moves two years before elections, and therefore 2020 is a litmus test of the Kenyatta-Ruto political marriage.

The BBI report, which was unveiled last month and now has seen the task force’s term extended to collect more views may also prove to be the Achilles heel for Jubilee Party.

Last week, the DP hosted a section of Luhya leaders at his Sugoi home, where he stated that BBI was brought about to 'fix him'.

He reportedly said despite having supported Mr Kenyatta and ODM leaders Raila Odinga in their previous quests to be President, the duo has not seen it fit to support him.

Mr Ruto’s allies in Jubilee have consistently said he would not support a bloated executive or even an executive prime minister elected by MPs.

Therefore, it will be worth waiting to see the new proposals the BBI team will come up with; all this expected in 2020.

If they bring a report unpalatable to Mr Ruto, he is likely to rally his troops in Parliament to defeat it, signalling the end of Jubilee as we know it.


National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale dismissed any notion that the party is headed on a collision course.

“I am the spokesman of Jubilee in Parliament. I can tell you unequivocally that the party is strong under the leadership of President Kenyatta. There is no doubt that 2020 will be a busy year for us but we are on the right path,” he said.

Mr Duale, a key ally of Mr Ruto, said the Big Four agenda and securing the President’s legacy remain the priority areas of the party.

“We will revamp our party next year. Remember, Jubilee is one of the largest parties in Africa in as far as representation is concerned,” he said.

Though the party has not held a Parliamentary Group meeting this year, Mr Duale said this would change come 2020 as it will hold its National Executive Committee meetings ahead of party elections.

“We may not have been holding NEC meetings but I can assure you Jubilee leadership in Parliament holds monthly meetings with the President,” he said.


Mr Duale said he was not aware of Tangatanga and Kieleweke groupings.

“I am the leader of Jubilee troops at the National Assembly. I can assure you we vote as per the party expectations. Whatever MPs do outside Parliament is not my concern; whether they visit Pastor Ng’ang’a’s church or that of Prophet Owuor, or even politic at funerals is not my concern at all; what I know is that they deliver once we are in Parliament,” he said.

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, who associates closely with President Kenyatta, said 2020 would see the party leader manage its affairs closely.

“Due to the fight against corruption, the President is becoming more and more powerful. He is becoming more popular. Kenyans wanted such zeal against the vice.

“Jubilee leaders will now line [up] behind the President because they do not want to cross his line, having seen the fate of those politicians countering the President’s agenda. I see a cohesive party strongly aligned to the President’s vision,” said Mr Kang’ata.


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