Jubilee gathers outfit to ward off UDA wave
The ruling Jubilee Party has assembled a war chest, which it plans to unleash in efforts to stem Deputy President William Ruto’s wave in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Central Kenya backyard.
The party, according to sources, has promised candidates massive support, including financing for branding of campaign materials, billboards, posters and banners and publicity.
Uhuru, who will stay on as the party leader even after the August 9 election, is keen to ensure his outfit bags as many seats as possible to stamp his authority and secure support for Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
The President is said to be actively mobilising campaign resources for the Jubilee candidates.
Among those playing pivot roles in coming up with the budget which will be allocated to counties, where campaign clusters are also being assembled include Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe, influential political strategist Nancy Gitau, Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni and director of elections Kanini Kega.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who is among the politicians leading the campaign said the party leadership was targeting all the elective seats in the region.
Ngunjiri said the aim explains the reason the party opted for opinion polls in the choice of candidates during party primaries.
“The party is keen on getting back all the seats that it had in 2017 by way of replacing those who left and retaining what it still has. The President will give the candidates momentum and create a profile because he will hit the ground as he enumerates the success of Jubilee, he will ask the voters to elect his party’s candidates.
There will also be support on campaign materials and merchandise and since the party has been raising money, the resources will go towards ensuring that the candidates have fluid campaigns,” Ngunjiri said.
Kioni has already indicated that the ruling party would go to any lengths within its reach to ensure that rebels will be re-elected and that Jubilee bags most of the seats in the region, targeting 50 parliamentary seats and 11 senate slots.
“For us (Jubilee) we are dealing directly with the people and our intention is to ensure they (rebels do not win any seats in August. In Mt Kenya region, historically, very few elected leaders make a comeback, in 2017, in central Kenya, only Governor Mwangi wa Iria was re-elected as 80 per cent of MPs were rejected. We did not want to carry a burden of MPs who will go home,” Murathe said.
Jubilee to use aggressive campaigns
Uhuru has been keen on bringing his party which was formed after the masters of his defunct The National Alliance (TNA) and Ruto’s defunct United Republican Party (URP), and in February this year, he launched an aggressive campaign to ensure the party, which suffered from mass walkout when DP Ruto and his backers joined UDA and embarrassing defeats in four local by-elections, roars back to life so that Mt Kenya region can use it to negotiate in Azimio La Umoja.
To start with campaigns Uhuru’s party mounted an elaborate onslaught with an intention of making it the dominant outfit by forcing defections of some of the perceived popular candidates from alternative parties whose leaderships hoped to thrive as alternative outfits to UDA following Jubilee’s fade popularity.
Among them are Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, who initially have declared that he would defend his seat on PNU, his Nakuru counterparty Lee Kinyanjui who had even launched Ubuntu but returned to Jubilee, former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau who had even branded his campaign vehicles with Chama Cha Kazi colours and logos while in Tharaka Nithi, they tabbed ex-Chuka University Vice-Chancellor Prof Erustus Njoka.
In some of the parliamentary seats, in Murang’a, the party convinced famous broadcaster Waithira Muthirania as its Woman Rep candidate, in Kiambu, they grabbed psychologist Gladys Chania from Kanu.
In Kangema, the battle saw the party drop incumbent Muturi Kigano despite his loyalty to Uhuru in favour of George Kibuku while the party Jubilee took Gatundu South MP’s brother Alloise Kinyanjui from CCK to view for the Juja seat.
In Kiambaa they wooed former Damaris Waiganjo who was also in Kuria’s party while in Ruiru, former MP Esther Gathogo was convinced to ditch UDA. The party is also recruiting figures to supplement the party’s efforts in campaigning for its candidates as well as Raila’s bid.
But this comes even as People Daily established that a section of Jubilee candidates in the region, perhaps afraid of the resistance Raila’s candidature has been receiving from the electorate in the region, are pushing to have them isolated from his active presidential campaigns and instead allowed to concentrate on their respective bids.