What you need to know:
- Currently, prominent Jubilee members facing corruption-related charges include Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and Nairobi’s Mike Mbuvi Sonko.
- Several Jubilee MPs are also facing various charges and this may complicate their intention to be party officials if the edict by Mr Tuju is followed.
Jubilee will not allow leaders accused of corruption to vie for any leadership positions in party elections scheduled to be held in March next year, party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju has said.
In a decision that may affect politicians facing graft cases, Mr Tuju said the party will enforce President Uhuru Kenyatta’s zero tolerance to corruption and ensure only honest members are elected to various positions.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Nation at his Asembo, Rarieda home, in Siaya County on Utamaduni Day, Mr Tuju said the party’s constitution advocates zero tolerance to corruption and noted that members without integrity will not have a chance to occupy any position in the party.
“You cannot abet corruption and say you are a staunch member of Jubilee yet the party advocates zero tolerance to corruption in its manifesto,” said Mr Tuju.
The announcement is likely to send shockwaves among party bigwigs, especially those facing corruption charges or are being investigated.
Currently, prominent Jubilee members facing corruption-related charges include Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and Nairobi’s Mike Mbuvi Sonko. Several Jubilee MPs are also facing various charges and this may complicate their intention to be party officials if the edict by Mr Tuju is to go by. Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama is facing tax evasion charges involving more than Sh400 million.
Embakasi North MP James Gakuya has been charged with fraudulent acquisition of Sh40 million from National Government Constituency Development Fund in fictitious road construction contracts. Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter is facing multiple counts related to forgery of Sh633 million in Treasury Bills. Sirisia MP John Waluke is also facing corruption-related charges while Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama is facing charges related to land fraud within Nakuru municipality.
Mr Tuju also delved into the debate on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force report, stating that the country could be headed for a referendum to ratify the document’s recommendations.
He maintained that President Kenyatta was committed to ensuring full implementation of the report to enhance inclusivity among Kenyans.
“The President is of the opinion that no Kenyan, from whichever community, should live in fear that the next dispensation is likely not to favour him or her,” Mr Tuju said.
He noted that the final BBI document was not yet out but certain proposals that touch on the objects, principles and structure of devolved government, protected commissions and government structure — functions of Parliament can only be ratified through a national referendum “in accordance with Articles 255, 256 and 257 of the 2010 Constitution.”
Allies of Deputy President William Ruto have previously said that most of the BBI proposals can be passed in Parliament and may not necessary require a referendum.
Some have tabled Bills in Parliament that mirror the BBI proposals. They include Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni whose proposal seeking to have election losers nominated to Parliament is contained in the BBI report. Also, West Mugirango MP Vincent Kemosi has proposed that Cabinet ministers be appointed even from within Parliament, a key plank of the BBI report. Both proposals have not been discussed in Parliament although National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had said he may block any debate on such proposals before the BBI report is tabled in Parliament.
“ … It is not about what Tuju or his friends want. The only way to change the Constitution is to adhere to that prescription by the Constitution of how it can be changed,” the Jubilee Secretary-General said.
He added: “The final BBI report is not yet out. It is still work in progress but certain proposals at the moment can only be changed through a referendum.”
The BBI report, in its current form, accords Nairobi County a special status, meaning that, if implemented, Nairobi County may cease to operate independently.
The report also recommends overhaul of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the creation of the office of Prime Minister.
Mr Tuju said: “Any changes that touch on the 47 counties as stated in the Constitution must go to a referendum; for instance Nairobi being a special county, there must be a referendum. We must go with what the Constitution says.”
He went on: “Changing government structure — having MPs as Ministers, bringing back Deputy Ministers, is changing the structure of government and MPs have no mandate to make such changes on their own.”
Mr Tuju said the report was President Kenyatta's and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s sacrifice to restore order in the country following several years of election-related violence and divisions.
VISION AND ETHOS
“The biggest challenge that we have which drives Kenyans to violence, especially during election time, is the fear of exclusion. The fear that if they are not in the next government, they will be finished. So it becomes a matter of life and death as everybody wants to be in government,” said Mr Tuju.
“What we want BBI to do is ensure all of us have a stake in any subsequent governments.”
On Jubilee elections, Mr Tuju maintained that the party stands for the rule of law, hence those who abet corruption must be ready to step aside in line with the party ethos.
He went on: “If there is anybody who thinks they can do things that are not in line with the visions and ethos of Jubilee and think they can blackmail us based on their ethnic support, it will not work.”
He said President Kenyatta will not compromise on issues of management of the country’s ethnicities, national cohesion and fight against corruption either in the party or government.
“It is important to know that this country will go nowhere unless we address those issues,” added Mr Tuju.
He said the plan is to domicile the party at the county level.
“Just like we talk about devolved governments, our plan is also to devolve the party so that it is not just domiciled in Nairobi and the headquarters.”
“Counties are now important aspects of our governance structure. This country’s Constitution talks about two levels of government; National and County, and we must align our party leadership with that,” the Jubilee Secretary-General said.
He said the party will have the same number of delegates and strength across all the counties.
When asked whether he will defend his position as party Secretary-General, Mr Tuju said: “If my peers feel I have the temperament and profile to be able to move this party to the next level, if they feel so and support me, I will do it.”
A section of leaders in Deputy President William Ruto’s Tangatanga faction of Jubilee have been pushing for Mr Tuju’s ouster, accusing him of being hard on the DP. Mr Tuju has repeatedly stated that Mr Ruto is not an automatic Jubilee party’s 2022 Presidential candidate, claims that have not gone down well with his lieutenants.
At the moment, only Jubilee Chief Whip in the National Assembly, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, has declared interest in the party’s National Chairman Position in the elections expected early in 2020.
Additional reporting by Wanjohi Githae