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How Jubilee plans to deal with Ruto after Kositany ouster

By Eric Wainaina
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021
In summary

After sacking Soy MP Caleb Kositany as the Jubilee deputy secretary general, attention now turns to Deputy President William Ruto, with key decision making organs assessing his continued stay as the second most senior party official.

Senior Jubilee Party officials disclosed to the People Daily yesterday that Ruto stands accused of a litany of charges including advancing the agenda of a rival organisation, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), by sponsoring and funding its candidates, disrespecting and undermining President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is his boss and party leader and disloyalty to Jubilee Party.

Kositany was the last Ruto man standing in the party’s top organ by virtue of his position but was on Monday replaced with his Cherangany counterpart Joshua Kutuny following a decision of the National Management Committee (NMC), leaving the DP as the only key member of his Tanga Tanga wing in top party organs.

“We have been carrying out this thing (cleaning the party) in phases. We started with his allies and now we are going for him. He must declare which side of the bread he wants. Either he is with Jubilee and supports its policies or he leaves to go and concentrate on his hustler movement and UDA Party,” a high-placed source within the ruling party who asked not to be named told People Daily.

Ruto’s accusers plan to cite his support for UDA’s Urbanas Ngengele in the Machakos Senate by-election and Evans Kakai and Alex Lanya in Kabuchai and Matungu by-elections, respectively.

Jubilee Party decided not to field candidates in the elections in favour of Wiper Party, Ford-Kenya and Amani National Congress.

Though the DP has not publicly campaigned for the candidates, he has been dispatching his acerbic surrogates to drum up support for them.

The shifting of the onslaught to Ruto himself will be a dramatic turning point for the relationship between him and President Kenyatta.

Ruto’s allies have already been swept away from key positions in both Houses of Parliament and replaced with leaders allied to Uhuru and opposition chief Raila Odinga under the Handshake agreement.

Yesterday, Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Ngunjiri Wambugu, a sworn critic of the Deputy President, said the party would deploy the Kositany removal mechanism to kick out Ruto.

“Kositany was removed from the DSG position in Jubilee because he openly supports another party. This justified the action taken against him by the party leadership, as basic housecleaning,” the MP told People Daily.

He added: “On the issue of the Deputy Party Leader, the same process will be followed. The party leadership will sit and analyse whether action needs to be taken against the Deputy President, if it does, the party will do relevant house-cleaning.”

Though Kutuny did not point a finger in the direction of the DP, the new deputy secretary general was categorical that the purge will be intensified.

“The party has the next course of action to deal with rebels. It’s the mandate of the top party organ to decide on such matters and make the position public,” said Kutuny, another critic of the DP.

Last week, while appearing in a TV interview, Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe said plans were underway to evict Ruto from his official residence in Karen.

“For the DP, I think the eviction party from the hustler mansion is loading. That you can take to the bank. Very soon,” the former Gatanga lawmaker said on Thursday, the same day he announced the removal of Kositany from the deputy secretary general’s position.

According to the party constitution, such a decision is the prerogative of the NMC which was reconstituted last year to kick out Ruto surrogates.

The DP’s allies have put on a brave face, saying Ruto’s removal from the party, if it happens, will not affect his role as Deputy President.

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono said it would not be a surprise if the second in command were to be the next victim in the party he co-founded with Uhuru after folding his United Republican Party (URP) in 2017.

“Removing DP from the party would not come as a shock to us even though they would have no tenable reason to do so. That move can be challenged on the basis of law because this would be tantamount to removing him as Deputy President because he got that position on the basis of him being the deputy party leader and also a member,” Rono said.

According to Rono, UDA was created after it became apparent that some forces in Jubilee were keen to deny Ruto the party’s presidential flag in the next election.

“ That is why UDA was created not as a party for now, but for 2022. It’s our vehicle to go to State House. This is what we call planning because we realised that we may not bank on Jubilee,” Rono told the People Daily yesterday.

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