What you need to know:
- Mr Tuju stated that they are committed to instilling fresh blood into the party.
- Last year, he declared that the party will lock out “corrupt” leaders from its polls.
- He said once the elections are concluded, Jubilee will have an opportunity to reach out to other like-minded parties.
The ruling Jubilee has assured its members of free and fair elections in the upcoming party polls, even as it announced that it will seek new partners with similar ideologies to cement President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy.
Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju moved to allay fears that the election could be used to settle scores against two formations — Kieleweke and Tangatanga.
The Kieleweke team consists of leaders allied to President Kenyatta while the Tangatanga brigade are allied to Deputy President William Ruto.
In an interview with Sunday Nation Saturday, Mr Tuju, who last year declared that the party will lock out “corrupt” leaders from its polls, stated that they are committed to instilling fresh blood into the party.
“No single politician will have the capacity to rig because the party is a publicly funded body and has to operate in accordance with the laws of Kenya,” said Mr Tuju.
He said the party will reach out to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure the polls are conducted above board.
“We learnt some lessons in 2017 when we had our nominations because of some weaknesses in the system and we are not going to repeat those mistakes.”
“At this particular moment and time, if we don’t follow due process, we will end up in court and so it is in the interest of all of us to ensure we do it faithfully and there is no way by which any one of us can play around,” Mr Tuju said.
He pointed out that there is “too much at stake for anybody to play around with the elections”, saying it could attract several litigations that the party is not prepared for.
“It is in the best interest of all of us to just sit together and manage this transition in the party leadership. That is the spirit we hope we will be able to cultivate in the new year as we bring everybody on board,” the secretary-general said.
He told off a section of leaders who have been pushing for his ouster, saying he does not have a hand in the polls.
“I don’t conduct elections. They will be done by the National Elections Board and IEBC, depending on what the party leadership agrees on, and so I have absolutely no role in the electoral process except to provide secretarial support where it is necessary,” added Mr Tuju.
He noted that once the elections are concluded, the party will have an opportunity, in accordance to its constitution, to reach out to other like-minded parties and Kenyans to work with in a bid to secure the President’s legacy.
Meanwhile, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, an ally of the DP, has told the President to explain his relationship with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Mr Odinga has been enjoying good rapport with the President at the expense of DP Ruto.
The DP has, however, denied the existence of a strained relationship with the President despite it being evident.
“I expect the President to come clear on his political relationship with Raila, whether they have a political merger or alliance with ODM,” Mr Barasa told Sunday Nation.
He said President Kenyatta should explain that relationship “so that most of us in Jubilee can also craft our political path … because in 2019, the party leader was not keen on JP matters and rumours had it that he wanted the party killed.”
But Mr Tuju Saturday said inasmuch as Jubilee “is very important for us, the country is even more important than the party.”
He said leaders across the political divide must appreciate the President’s move to work with other leaders, including the unity borne of the March 9, 2018 handshake between him and Mr Odinga. In the same breadth, Mr Tuju reiterated that nothing will stop the Head of State from working with other leaders to enhance unity and inclusivity ahead of the next election.
“The Jubilee constitution provides for reaching out to other parties as well as other Kenyans for the good of the country.”
“So there is nothing new about that as it is provided for in our constitution,” Mr Tuju said.
On the party’s upcoming polls, Mr Tuju said: “As the ruling party, we owe it to Kenyans to lead by example by conducting credible elections for office bearers of the party.”
“There is a checklist that we are embarking on with immediate effect so that we do not end up with a shambolic process. We have to learn from the lessons of 2017, when we were operating in a stampede to comply with the IEBC election calendar,” the former Rarieda MP said.
He said some of the issues they want adhered to are presentation of the members register for public scrutiny, noting that they will work together with their IT team and the Registrar of Political Parties.
“We also want to start cleaning the register if any inconsistencies are found. As a publicly funded entity, we have to pass the test of scrutiny lest we end up in court.”
This, he said, may need the services of IEBC because “our elections board as currently constituted may not have all the essential capacity. Besides, a good number of them have been rendered disqualified after they took over government jobs.”
“We will be convening a leadership meeting so that issues about these elections are understood as per our constitution and the laws of Kenya as opposed to the trend of noises in the political market place, rallies and funerals,” said Mr Tuju.
Meanwhile, a section of Jubilee leaders have expressed optimism ahead of the polls.
“I look forward to the revamping of Jubilee so that it can be ready to take advantage of the changes that will be brought by the BBI proposals,” said Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
“I pray that all of us leaders would use the opportunities citizens gave us to grow the economy and open opportunities for increased empowerment,” she added.
Senate Deputy Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata said he is confident that the Jubilee elections will be held without any acrimony.
“I see all major protagonists in our party seeing the larger picture of putting the country first and realising their interests lie in holding off any fights for now,” said Mr Kang’ata.
The party’s Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany said: “Party elections will be held in a free and transparent way and the wishes of members should be respected.”
But Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri, who leads the Kieleweke team, was categorical that only leaders who are committed to secure President Kenyatta’s legacy should be elected into office.
“I expect that the people who will get into office as party officials will be 100 per cent aligned to President Kenyatta’s policies on fighting corruption, uniting the country and economically empowering Kenyans,” said Mr Ngunjiri.
He went on: “Anyone who is not aligned to this will have a bad year as far as Jubilee is concerned. And this is something we can be certain of.”
He said he expects the party will get more disciplined “mainly because the President will be more politically involved as he has promised.”
“I also expect a reorganisation of political formations at national level based on ideology. Those of us who want to unite Kenyans across the political divide will be more active, determined and aggressive in pushing our message of unity, while those dividing Kenyans for individual 2022 political advantage will get pushed back, so much harder than in 2019.”