Deputy President William Ruto will be operating at least once a week from Jubilee Party headquarters located in Pangani as he takes the fight for the ruling party to the doorstep of his rivals.
Mr Ruto will be operating from Jubilee in his capacity as the deputy party leader to “reclaim the party.”
The move will likely escalate the tension since ordinarily, it is the secretariat that runs the day-to-day activities of the political parties.
Two MPs who did not want to be named said those behind the strategy (working from Pangani, Nairobi) are keen to intimidate Uhuru allies so as to back off.
The thinking in DP’s camp is that the president, whom they seem to have studied over some time now, will likely recall his troops if he feels the intended objective will be drowned in the ensuing anarchy.
Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe, an Uhuru ally but a Ruto critic, said the DP is welcome at the party offices anytime.
“We only remind the DP that he is not a member of the national management committee, however, the party Constitution allows him to deputise the president who is our party leader. Let him come, he will find us there,” Mr Murathe said
The DP’s move comes as Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju on Saturday stuck to his guns over the list of proposed members of the National Management Committee (NMC). This is an indication that Mr Tuju will not be withdrawing the controversial list.
Dr Ruto, also the deputy party leader, last week referred to him and other officials behind the list as fraudsters who had taken advantage of Covid-19 outbreak to sneak the names to the Registrar of political Parties Anne Nderitu.
Mr Tuju’s reactions can only escalate the internal feud. But Tuju said that his actions did not break any rules.
“In taking the action it took under the authority of the NEC (National Executive Committee) delegated to it, including the power of convening short notice executive meetings to execute the mandate of the NEC, the NMC also took into account the provisions of Article 28(5) of the party constitution which states that: nothing in this constitution, its rules, regulations or procedures shall preclude the NEC acting on its own or through the National Coordinating Committee from taking or making decision that it deems proper and fit in the interest of the Party,” Mr Tuju said.
It is also possible that the registrar has already ratified the list and can only change it if the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal give a different verdict.
This is what DP is working round the clock to reverse. “For them to move to the dispute tribunal, there has to be a grievance right? Certainly that grievance can only be the changes in members of the national management committee,” Vice Chairman David Murathe said.
Mr Tuju said they will act on the letter from the registrar, which referred back the matter to internal party organs, and communicate to members on the final decision concerning the proposed changes.
“The party will in due course and as circumstances permit given the trying season that confronts the nation and indeed the world, consider the issues raised and reach the decision that it deems proper and fit in its best interest. Its decision will be guided by the law and by consultation with the party leadership as required by the constitution,” he stated.
Like has been the position held by other officials like Murathe, the SG said the ultimate authority in the party lies with the party leader (and not the deputy party leader) who, by virtue of their Constitution, has power to “issue directives for the performance of specific acts or omissions thereof in furtherance of the objectives of party or fulfillment and compliance with party manifesto, programmes, values and ideals”.
Ruto allies now want to reorganize Jubilee Party and call for a meeting of its organs after Ms Nderitu threw the ball back to its leadership after two weeks of high-level exchanges in the ruling party.
Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany said the letter by the registrar comes in handy for the party to re-engineer and reinvigorate party organs.
He said as per the party constitution, the names ought to have been first advertised in two newspapers seeking input from party members.
“The registrar has called on us to respect the Political Parties Act; we now need to have regular meetings of National Executive Council, Parliamentary Group and other organs, which have not met in three years,” he said.
But Mr Tuju has a different take. “On 9th January 2020, in consultation with the Party Leader and his Deputy, the party Secretary-General (SG) wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) to inform her that the party intended to conduct national leadership elections during the month of March,” he said.
The death of Moi affected the party’s election plans, Mr Tuju said.
“On the same day that the registrar sent her letter acceding to the rescheduling of the elections, the Party Leader announced that former president Moi had passed away. A later announcement indicated that the former president would lie in state, receive a state funeral and be buried on February 12, 2020. This development necessitated a change in the planning and schedule of the elections.”
The SG told members that plans were underway for proper elections to pick new officials.
“An elections board should be put in place to run the elections. Its mandate should include preparing rules and regulations for conducting elections which should be submitted to the RPP for ratification. An internal dispute resolution mechanism should be established to handle post-election disputes,” he said in his communication to members.
Equally, Mr Tuju said that even those calling for the NEC and Delegates conference forget that the NMC, which has not been in place, must pave way for that.
“NMC acts on behalf of the NEC on urgent matters where in their opinion the NEC cannot be sufficiently convened to undertake such urgent decisions. NEC meetings must be preceded by NMC meetings to set the agenda for the NEC,” he said.
Further, preparation for elections would require prompting by the NMC, which has responsibility for overseeing the management of party affairs and the Secretariat on behalf of the NEC and approving budgetary plans on behalf of the NEC, the SG said.