New details emerge ahead of Jubilee Parliamentary Group

Monday, February 10th, 2020 08:00 | By
Jubilee MPs and senators allied to the Deputy President William Ruto during a press conference at the end of a two-day retreat in Naivasha. They said they will hold separate BBI rallies starting with Nakuru next month as part of efforts to popularise the initiative to Kenyans. Photo/PD/KIRERA MWITI

The long-waited Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting which set to take place on Friday could escalate the fissures in the party after members opposed to Deputy President William Ruto said they will not attend.

Among those unhappy with the meeting is Senator Irungu Kangata, the Deputy chief whip who said that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s supporters have not been consulted.

The party membership is split between two rival groups— Kieleweke which supports Uhuru and the Ruto-allied Tanga Tanga.

What has irked the Kieleweke group is the fact that the meeting, which has been convened by party secretary Rapahel Tuju, will be chaired by Ruto who they have been fighting. 

The President is said to have directed Tuju to plan for the meeting together with Ruto.

Pushed around

“We shall never agree to be pushed around by the other team. They organise meetings without consulting all party leaders in the Senate and the National Assembly. They discriminate against Uhuru supporters. We shall never agree to this,” said Kangata.

It is because of the growing rift between two groupings in the last two years, especially on the 2022 succession, that ruling party has yet to hold a meeting to have a common stance on key national discourses such as the March 9, 2018 Handshake between Uhuru and Opposition chief Raila Odinga and the reforms drive, Building  Bridges Initiative (BBI).

“We are still contemplating on the next move. We will be holding a meeting this evening (yesterday night) where a solution will be found,” said a member of the Kieleweke team who declined to be named. 

Members of the Kieleweke team which is allied to the President met last evening in Nairobi to discuss plans to discuss the PG meeting.

A text message sent to members read in part:  “ Jambo Mhesh, There are concerns about the Friday meeting by Uhuru supporters in Parliament.

In this regard we need to brainstorm on the proposed meeting as The President’s team. Please confirm availability and preferred time, then we agree on one.”

It expected that the politics of the Handshake and BBI will play key role in the meeting whose main agenda is said to be party elections slated for March.

According to Tuju, the President has tasked his deputy to chair the meeting at the Kenya School of Government, Nairobi.

Before leaving for the United States, Uhuru held a meeting with Ruto at State House and it was during then that Tuju was directed to start planning for the PG meeting.

But Senator Kangata insisted that every House leader be involved in the planning. It should be a forum where the party leaders’s supporters are discriminated against.

But another member of the team, Murang’a Woman representative Sabina Chege, said she will attend the meeting regardless who would chair it.

Delayed to later date

“I will attend the meeting, it is a Jubilee party meeting, whoever is going to chair will not stop me from attending, we are a Jubilee family,” she said.

The meeting would have been held this week but the death of retired President Daniel Moi caused postponement.

When contacted yesterday, Tuju declined to confirm or deny whether he met Ruto to plan for the PG meeting.

“I meet the DP either in the Cabinet or other official engagements, I don’t think meeting him can make news,” he said.

In a statement issued last Friday, Tuju said the consultative meeting will not be technically be a PG meeting.

“The consultative meeting will not be technically a Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting, because it will not be chaired by the Party Leader, but it will be an occasion to have a discourse with members and to give an update on various issues of interest and concern in the party,” he said.

President agreed

Tuju said President Uhuru had agreed the meeting takes place at the Kenya School of Government at 8.30am.

Just recently, Tuju dismissed resolutions by some MPs allied to Ruto who met in Naivasha for a “retreat”, as not binding to the party because it was not a Parliamentary Group meeting.

He said the meeting attended by more than 100 legislators was not convened under the party’s constitution, and was not called by the party leader President Uhuru or a person delegated by him.

Jubilee Party members allied to Ruto have been calling for a PG meeting to discuss the wrangles within its leadership.

Soy MP Caleb Kositany, who is also Jubilee’s deputy secretary general, has been calling for the PG so that members can discuss and get to know about the BBI and Handshake. He says most legislators in the party are keen to deliberate on the referendum proposals so they can take a common stand should it take place.

Some Jubilee Party MPs have raised concerns about the President’s failure to convene the party’s parliamentary group meeting since his re-election in 2017 with some of them, especially those allied to the DP saying the region is in limbo following lack of a clear successor to Uhuru when his term ends in 2022.

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