Inside Politics

Uhuru fights to wrest Jubilee from rebels

Monday, May 22nd, 2023 05:50 | By
Uhuru fights to wrest Jubilee from rebels
Retired President and Jubilee Party eader Uhuru Kenyatta addresses members during a past National Delegates Conference in Nairobi. PD/File

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta is today expected to lead a major battle to wrest control of the Jubilee Party from rebel MPs who have aligned themselves to President William Ruto.

Uhuru has convened a National Delegates Conference (NDC) of the party, to be held at the Ngong Race Course, which is shaping up to be his spirited campaign to kick out renegade party members.

Last week, the rebels picked nominated MP Sabina Chege as interim party leader, saying she would take over the role from the retired President. They also said they had replaced Party Chairman David Murathe and Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni.

Jubilee, the party that propelled Uhuru to the presidency in the 2017 election, is one of the major parties in the Azimio One Kenya Coalition Party, which fronted Raila Odinga as its presidential candidate in the 2022 election.

However, a faction of the party, led by EALA MP Kanini Kega, broke away from Azimio and instead said they would work with the government of the day, sparking the fight for the control of the party.

The faction later said it had kicked out the officials as it readied for elections.

At the weekend, politicians allied to the faction  insisted that no NDC will take place today only a day after Uhuru announced that the meeting would go on as earlier planned.

Uhuru differed with his erstwhile deputy, William Ruto, and supported the election of Raila in last year’s election.

Although he has kept a low profile in the months since the election, he has remained as the leader of the party, the second largest in Azimio after ODM, which Raila leads. It is bigger than Wiper Democratic Party, which is led by former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Speaking during an inter-denominational prayer meeting in Isiolo Boys Secondary School grounds yesterday, the team led by Kega said that there will be no NDC although they did not explain how they would ensure that the meeting of the highest decision making organ of the party would be stopped.

The group has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Murathe and Kioni group, who insist they are the bona fide leaders of the party.

“I want to announce as the Secretary General of Jubilee, there is no NDC meeting tomorrow. We will call the meeting at the right time,” claimed Kega.

Nominated MP Sabina Chege urged the retired president to play an advisory role. “He should come and advise us,” she said.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro also urged the former president to make peace with President Ruto.

Local dailies

Uhuru chose Ngong Race Course because the Bomas of Kenya — where the meeting was initially slated to be held —was not available.

“Notice is hereby given that the venue of the Jubilee NDC has been moved to Ngong Racecourse, Nairobi. All other details remain as in the notice issued on April 29, 2023,” Uhuru said in a notice published in local dailies at the weekend and which he published in his capacity as Party Leader.

Sources privy to the NDC say President Kenyatta plans to use today’s NDC to expel the Kega and Sabina faction and other rebels who have aligned themselves with President Ruto, who has been accused by Raila of undermining multi-party democracy by raiding legislators from the Opposition.

Today’s meeting is expected to have far-reaching ramifications for the party with the retired President expected to make a major announcement on its future.

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