Lawmakers allied to President Kenyatta have gone for the political jugular of Jubilee officials, asking them to resign over the party’s defeat in the Kiambaa by-elections.
The poll results leave President Uhuru Kenyatta in a precarious position as he crafts his succession.A number of MPs in the ruling party who are loyal to the President blame the secretariat for the poor show in both Juja and Kiambaa constituencies and are now pushing for a total overhaul of the secretariat. Blame is being directed at vice-chairman David Murathe and secretary-general Raphael Tuju, both accused of being elitist and messing up the party’s image.
But the two say politicians should take responsibility for the results.Kieni MP Kanini Kega, who led the campaigns in Kiambaa, set the stage for the clash when he said that all officials, except four, should quit their positions.
“If you are a Jubilee national official and your name isn’t in the list below, kindly submit your letter of resignation immediately before we physically eject you from the headquarters. The four we want to remain are the Party Leader, Deputy Secretary General Joshua Kutuny, acting Executive Director Wambui Gichuru and the director of communication Albert Memusi. The rest pack and go,” wrote Mr Kega on his Facebook page.
Drop namesKirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said the party’s image has been soiled by what she described as elitist and “talk down cadres” within its ranks, who she argued, “must be dispensed with to forestall the party’s further downwards slide”.
“The party must get rid of its elitist and talk-down cadres who have messed up its image,” she told the Sunday Nation yesterday, even though she did not drop names. For her, the starting point is for the party to be felt on the ground, and the choice of its message and the messengers who will carry it will be critical going forward.
“That demands a change of leadership and rebranding. It should then inject pro-people leaders who have a way with the base. Such leaders must endear themselves to members and forestall defections,” she added.
Eldas MP Adan Keynan, who is also the party’s parliamentary secretary, challenged the President to crack the whip by dissolving the government and shaking up his inner cycle. “This is actually the time to dissolve this government, and have the President vet afresh not just his advisors, but the technocrats who he has entrusted with the task of delivering on his legacy projects, of the Big Four and his succession game plan,” he said.
Though Mr Murathe admitted that things don’t look good for the ruling party, he challenged the politicians to stop blame games and take responsibility for the defeat in Kiambaa.
“The secretariat was totally sidelined in Kiambaa and there is no way we can take the blame,” he said, saying the secretariat had done everything that needed to be done for success.In the aftermath of the Juja defeat, Mr Murathe said politicians had blamed the secretariat for the poor show and decided to take charge of the campaigns in Kiambaa. So the secretariat decided to sit back in Kiambaa.
“If they had won, they would be bragging all over the place on how they did it. Now that we have lost, they should take responsibility as none of the members of the secretariat stepped in Kiambaa,” said Mr Murathe.
Mr Tuju downplayed talk of his possible removal, noting that sentiments expressed by members were healthy for the party.“I wouldn't want to be engaged in a back and forth argument with party members who are my employers. They are free to express themselves, such feedback is good for the party,” he said, adding that he was satisfied by the party’s performance in Kiambaa, especially because the gap between the two sides in Juja was huge.“It’s a gap we bridged in Kiambaa.
It’s prudent to mention that mid-term elections have many dynamics that are often associated with protest votes,” he added.
UDA’s win in Kiambaa has offered Deputy President William Ruto much needed momentum in his push to succeed his boss. And the blame game among the President’s men and women is also likely to work in favour of the country’s second in command who may exploit the fissures to consolidate his position as Mt Kenya’s choice once President Kenyatta retires.
With two by-elections having gone in his favour, the DP has acquired the motivation to push his presidential bid and hope that he can build on the confusion in Jubilee to win all the seats in the region in next year’s elections.
Mr Murathe dismissed suggestions that the President will walk away in a whimper when the sun sets on his final term in August next year.Apart from the President, who is the party leader, other officials are DP Ruto (deputy party leader), Nelson Dzuya (chairman), Mr Murathe, Mr Tuju, MP Caleb Kositany, who is the deputy secretary-general.Those who want to overhaul the leadership are more interested in Mr Tuju and Mr Murathe who have been the public face of the secretariat.