Jubilee MPs plot comeback after Kiambaa loss

POLITICS |

Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju flanked by other leaders addressing journalists.[Jonah Onyango,Standard]

In a five-hour meeting held at a city hotel, the MPs engaged in candid conversations on the party’s dwindling fortunes.

Stung by a string of losses in Juja and Kiambaa constituency by-elections, Jubilee Members of Parliament allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta met on Friday to plot a major comeback.

The five-hour meeting held at a city hotel saw the MPs engage in candid conversations on the party’s dwindling fortunes, with those present agreeing on the need to quickly turn the tide.

To achieve this, the MPs resolved to begin a reactivation of the party to combat the rising stature of United Democratic Alliance (UDA), a party linked to Deputy President William Ruto.

After the fall out between President Kenyatta and his deputy, the ruling party has taken a beating, with a section of the once monolithic party that boasted 173 MPs of the National Assembly and 34 senators from across all the regions of the country having decamped to Ruto’s party.  

The meeting, at the Windsor Golf and Country Club that ended at about 10pm, brought together about 30 MPs, a Chief Administrative Secretary and two Principal Secretaries.

Since the loss of Kiambaa by-election on July 15, Jubilee officials have held two meetings, including an explosive one a week ago at the Jubilee headquarters for the critical players who were involved in Kiambaa and Muguga mini polls at various levels.

The Windsor meeting saw every MP ventilate on the loss in Kiambaa and give suggestions on what needed to be done to remedy the waning popularity of the party.

Apart from Kiambaa, Jubilee also lost the Juja by-election to George Koimburi of the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) led by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, and Rurii Ward in Nyandarua, that was won by a UDA candidate.

Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri, who was the master of ceremony at the Windsor meeting, noted that Kiambaa and Muguga helped them focus on the party.

“It clarified exactly where we are, factually. Now we know where we are, especially those of us in the Mt Kenya region, which is a key stronghold. Where we are is not as good as we would want, but neither is it as bad as we have been made to fear,” Ngunjiri told the meeting.

“We were able to see the gaps that exist between the ruling party and its membership and the general public. With that information we now know where we are. We also now know what to do to get to where we need to be,” Ngunjiri observed.

He added, “The first was to determine where we are and the way forward; the second was to appreciate the work done in Kiambaa and Muguga to get us to where we now are, even as we prepare to move to the next level,” said Ngunjiri.

Limuru MP Peter Mwathi agreed with Ngunjiri and asked the Jubilee MPs not to beat themselves too hard over the losses, given that even beyond the UDA hype and grassroots mobilisation, they managed to neuter them.

“We got 50 per cent despite UDA spending resources and running an elaborate campaign; the by-election was not bad for us despite the loss,” said Mwathi.

In the meeting, Kiambu Governor James Nyoro, Murang’a Woman representative Sabina Chege and Youth and Gender Affairs CAS Rachel Shebesh insisted that reactivation of the party was necessary.

“The loss was bad; we must do something to bring life to the party,” said Nyoro.

Shebesh noted that they needed to ensure that hyped activity was launched in the party soon to have it revamped for the next general election.

“We must go out and talk to the people, otherwise we will have ourselves to blame,” said Shebesh.

Jubilee Deputy Secretary General and Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny said branch networks across the country should be revamped, including filling in the gaps where some leaders left and joined the competition.

“We should activate the party at the local level and get it involved in local issues as we rebuild membership and support. Also involve ourselves in soft social issues,” Kutuny told the meeting that was attended by a number of grassroots campaigners from Kiambaa and Muguga.

At the end of the meeting, the group calling itself ‘Jubilee Reloaded’, agreed to work on a robust activation and strengthening of the party looking at a post-Uhuru presidency.

Among the raft of measures they have put in place to realise their goal is the empowering of caucuses including those of regional, women and youth, and special groups with the view of using this to reengineer the popularity of the party.

The plan is to have eight regions including Mount Kenya, Rift Valley, Coast, Western, Eastern, North Eastern, Nairobi and Nyanza caucuses. It was agreed that the regions would work closely with the youth and women caucuses to enable them to activate their respective bases.

Part of the resolution was to engage the public and general membership through public town halls and village barazas to get involvement, feedback and ideas to improve and make changes in the  party as they move it onwards and upwards.

In the meeting, it was agreed that a lot of what will happen in the coming days and weeks was based on what they did in Kiambaa and Muguga in just three weeks that got them the results they got.

“This is what will be extrapolated and upscaled across the country, with local dynamics taken into consideration,” said Ngunjiri.

It was also agreed that over the next two weeks the president’s party will organise forums in Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Kiambu to consolidate what they have built.

The forums, Ngunjiri said, will be for Jubilee Party members in each ward as well as supporters from the county to share ideas on how to strengthen the party in each area.

“We will also clean up office leadership at sub-county and county levels to ensure we have people loyal to the party coordinating its activities in each part of central, including replacing leaders and members who have joined other parties,” said Ngunjiri.

Ndaragua MP Jeremiah Kioni noted that moving forward, they need to connect the party to what the leader and his government have done because these are the achievements of Jubilee.

“We will seek to politically expose Kenyans to markets opened, land titles given, hospitals established, electricity connected and how these are impacting ordinary Kenyans whether doing boda boda business or the mama mboga, youth, women, and business community,” said Kioni.

He added; “We want to ensure Kenyans understand what the Jubilee government has been doing for the poor people, and that it’s done to be long-term and sustainable. Soften this so that it’s politically understood.”

jngetich@standardmedia.co.ke

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