The dramatic storming of Jubilee Party headquarters by William Ruto and his allies recently has triggered stormy events that point to a major fallout in the party that brought Uhuru Kenyatta to the helm.
A day after Ruto swept into Jubilee headquarters, Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju said in a statement that Ruto is facing expulsion from Jubilee for his visit to the party headquarters without notice. Tuju added that the DP’s fate now lies with the party’s national executive committee. Weekly Citizen had two months ago reported of a plot to expel Ruto and his henchmen from the ruling coalition that seems to have been split asunder. Weekly Citizen has further been informed that Uhuru while in France was briefed of the happenings at Jubilee headquarters.
Our sources affirmed that it is Uhuru who prevailed upon Mount Kenya MPs allied to the Kieleweke faction in Jubilee that were meeting at Serena Hotel not to go and confront the Tangatanga meeting at Jubilee head office in Pangani. To Uhuru, a confrontation between the ruling party factions was bound to damage his trip internationally although his deputy’s move to gate-crash at party’s headquarters offices had done more damage than good. According to our sources, Uhuru while in France gave Jubilee headquarters strict instructions to deal with Ruto and his allies, once and for all.
It is on these grounds that the national management committee after meeting recommended to the national executive committee to have Ruto expelled. Analysts say that no way was NMC of the Jubilee Party going public to propose Ruto expulsion without informing the party leader and with his full blessings. The office of deputy party leader is also set to be split into various departments to whittle its powers. It will have three or two departments with Keiyo Marakwet governor, Alex Tolgos, getting a big seat as deputy leader. The governor is a BBI coordinator in North Rift Ruto home turf.
As the ruling party, to avoid any takeover, Uhuru is said to have proposed General Service Unit to guard Jubilee headquarters on grounds that he has an official party leader of the ruling outfit. The presidency is guarded by a special elite unit derived from GSU. Apart from Ruto, another face facing expulsion is party deputy secretary-general Caleb Kositany. Once expelled, Ruto is to be impeached in parliament on the basis of having no party. Currently, as things stand and days after Weekly Citizen revealed how the DP had dared his boss for a duel by declaring he does not fear him, the second in command has upped his offensive after learning of a plan by his adversaries to sneak in a clause in the constitution through the building bridges initiative to bar him from contesting the presidency in 2022.
The plan entails inserting a clause in the constitution to state that “a person shall not hold office as DP for more than two terms”. And that a person who has held the position of deputy president for two terms shall not be eligible to contest the presidency. Highly-placed sources revealed that the DP has now declared total war after learning that the president had changed his initial plan to frustrate him to quit the government and is now working on how to manipulate the constitution to stop him from contesting the highest seat in the land. The president together with ODM leader Raila Odinga, insiders revealed, were forced to change tact after realizing Ruto is not a pushover and is ready to go all the way to the ballot in 2022, to win or lose.
The DP, who will turn 55 years in 2022, in case he loses the presidential contest, believes he stands a good chance of contesting again in 2027, and even 2032, unlike Raila who is in the twilight years of his political career. Insiders revealed Uhuru’s first plan was to frustrate the DP to force him to resign as the DP and Jubilee party deputy leader. The plan that started being actualized after Uhuru secured a second term entailed piling pressure on Ruto by first prosecuting his allies on corruption, frustrating him in Jubilee Party and cutting his financial channels locally and internationally. Ultimately, the president had hoped the DP would give up by resigning paving the way for him to anoint Baringo senator Gideon Moi as his preferred successor.
Uhuru, insiders added, was forced by retired president Daniel Arap Moi before he died, to swear to hand over the presidency to Gideon once his tenure comes to an end to reciprocate Moi’s support for him and the Kenyatta family.
It was Moi who introduced Uhuru to politics and more so, ensured the Kenyatta family business empire was not interfered with for the 24 years he ruled the country. The second option, sources added, was the president to anoint Raila as his successor with Gideon as either his running mate or occupying one of the premier positions to be unveiled when the BBI report is finally adopted.
But the president has been forced to change tune after Ruto showed signals that he will not bow to pressure to either resign or drop his presidential ambition. The president, sources added, also does not know how much the DP has set aside for the presidential campaign kitty. Ruto is now dishing out goodies to poor Kenyans, a move that has perplexed his opponents unsure of how much he has amassed for the campaigns. The closest hint on how much he might spend was given by sacked Sports cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa, when he trashed Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi’s presidential ambition, by stating that presidential campaigns require Sh200 billion which the ANC boss does not have but Ruto has the means.
It is a known fact that Echesa is a close ally of the deputy president. Ruto, sources added, has now taken the battle to the president’s doorstep hoping to provoke him to order his expulsion from the Jubilee Party. Uhuru is currently controlling Jubilee and he made drastic changes in the party’s NEC and NMC by removing those perceived to be sympathetic to Ruto. Ruto ally in the now dead United Republican Party Joseph Mulili was sacked as Jubilee deputy finance director. Not spared was Nick Bore, then Jubilee party’s director of membership. An ally of Ruto named the following as faces advising Uhuru on party matters and working for DP downfall.
These were David Murathe, deputy chairman and deputy chief-of-staff, Njee Muturi, all who happen to be Uhuru’s drinking buddies. Others are power lady-cum-presidential adviser Nancy Gitau and chairman Nelson Dzuya. According to our source, what Tuju says originates from the above faces and he is just a messenger by virtue of being a Luo to avoid the Kikuyu element in the fight against Ruto for messengers are never killed. The powerful forces to execute duties have on board Jubilee Eastern Mount Kenya official Francis Mwindani and Steve Mwanga, Tuju’s personal assistant.
Head of finance and administration Wambui Gichuru, deputy State House comptroller George Kariuki and city lawyer Tom Macharia are said to be deeply involved in the happenings. Uhuru private secretary and favourite nephew Jomo Gechaga is said to have been sidelined for being sympathetic to Ruto’s cause. Nominated senators who abstained from Jubilee parliamentary group meeting were ousted from NEC after the party’s disciplinary committee recommended for their expulsion.
Millicent Omanga, Mary Seneta Yiane, Falhada Dekow Iman, Naomi Jillo Waqo and Victor Prengei all sympathetic to Ruto are nowhere in the new lineup. New faces in NEC are Lucy Macharia, Marete Marangu, Walter Nyambati, Jane Nampaso and James Waweru. They are all members of the NMC who automatically sit on the NEC board. Having decided Ruto expulsion for associating with Jubilee Asili, they are bound to sway the NEC outcome. Analysts say the NEC meeting to be held soon is just a matter of formality.
NEC consists of all national officials, the national advisory council members, national assembly leader, senate leader, chairpersons of the party’s parliamentary caucuses, chairperson of the governor’s caucus, the party’s whips in the senate and national assembly and secretary to the PG. Others on membership are the national MCA caucus, women’s league, youth league, persons with disabilities league; national diaspora league, the national council of elders and the Jubilee Foundation. National business council, executive director and deputy executive director are part of the team. NEC is powerful as it is in charge of party discipline and oversees the work of the party’s parliamentary group.
Former senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Senator Kithure Kindiki were NEC members but were ousted in a palace coup. Before the latest drama, Ruto had stormed the Jubilee Party headquarters with an aspirant for the Msambweni by-election Sharlet Akinyi, seeking her to be nominated by Jubilee but the move hit a snag as the party had announced that it was not going to field a candidate in the slated December 15 by-election. While Ruto announced later that he supported the position taken by the party on not supporting a candidate in the Msambweni by-election, he unveiled an independent candidate, Feisal Bader, against the party’s decision.
The climax of the DP’s defiance against his boss and party happened on September 30, when Ruto staged what was dubbed as a hustlers’ parade at his Karen residence after he skipped a presidential event on Covid-19 at KICC. At the hustlers’ parade, a tough-talking Ruto declared it was the end of business as usual and declared that he would not allow being intimidated or disrespected. “We will continue what we are doing, wata-do (what will they do)? They will have to submit. Respect is two ways. You respect to be respected. I am a DP now, but I rose from selling chicken,” he told the groups at his residence. The criticism that he is staging political shows in an official residence was not lost to him.
He responded with unmistakable defiance. “I am in a hustler’s mansion. I am a tenant courtesy of your votes and prayers. I am not interested in votes. I am interested in empowering the people as the DP. The other will come by God’s grace. Mboka ni mboka, mbera ni mbera, hustler ni hustler, let everyone respect each other,” he said. The event at his Karen residence on the day Uhuru left the country for Europe to beg, offered the clearest indicator yet that Ruto is determined to break away from his 2013 and 2017 running mate. Under normal circumstances, the DP would see off Uhuru at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and assume the responsibility of running the nation in his absence.
However, on this occasion when Uhuru was heading to France for a three-day state visit to ask for alms from president Emmanuel Macron, Ruto gave the president’s departure a wide berth and instead remained holed at his official residence meeting people who left with wheelbarrows, salon hair blowdryers, tanks and carwash machines. Political observers are warning that Ruto’s presidential ambitions could end up being counter-productive as they say while ambition is not bad, left unchecked, it can mutate into arrogance and avarice, two of the most destructive human impulses. History has demonstrated that great leaders like former Roman Emperor and war general Julius Caesar fell because of unchecked ambitions despite major achievements in their quest for greatness.
Ruto’s presidential ambitions mirror the situation that prevailed at independence when Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta and his deputy Jaramogi Oginga Odinga started falling out. Jaramogi was Raila’s father. Ruto supporters however dismiss these as remarks of his enemies who are panicking after their designs to stall their man’s march to State House failed in the face of a new sort of campaign strategy by Ruto that is a departure from the old politics of rhetoric that always leaves the poor poorer. To demonstrate his uneasiness against his deputy, Uhuru through executive order number 1 of 2019 removed the mandate of supervising the cabinet from the DP’s office and handed it over to Interior CS Fred Matiang’i.
Uhuru appointed Matiang’i to chair a committee mandated to supervise all government projects, including the Jubilee government’s supposed legacy-driven Big Four agenda that is late by years and is as good as dead and buried given that the Treasury is totally empty and only mosquitoes fly out of the vaults when one opens them. Matiang’i also chairs the newly constituted National Development Implementation and Communication Committee and is deputized by his Treasury counterpart Ukur Yattani. Uhuru’s father pulled a similar political stunt to deal with Raila’s father shortly after independence when the Kanu constitution was amended to abolish the position of Vice President and create eight vice- presidents from across the country.