MERU: A local MP has called for President Uhuru Kenyatta's intervention to enhance Jubilee Party's popularity in the region.
South Imenti's Kathuri Murungi cited an occasion at the weekend where Jubilee leaders, including Senator Kiraitu Murungi, were heckled during a meeting at the home of Woman Representative Florence Kajuju in Mbeu.
Kathuri said the hostile reception was an indication of Jubilee's dwindling popularity in the region.
Kiraitu, who is seeking to supplant Governor Peter Munya of the Party of National Unity (PNU), his running mate designate Titus Ntuchiu and Ms Kajuju's husband Gitonga Amaru, had a hard time addressing the angry residents.
Kathuri attributed the hostility they received to the "unfair" distribution of key Jubilee seats during the recent elections of the party's interim officials in the county.
Allies of Kiraitu, who is working with Kajuju and senatorial aspirant Mithika Linturi, were seen to have taken the main seats, including the chairmanship, which went to Joseph Muturia, and the secretary's post taken by Al Haji Mwendia.
Of the 19 branch executives picked during the shambolic elections, only two were formerly in The National Alliance (TNA) while the rest are former officials of Kiraitu's defunct Alliance Party of Kenya.
"What we are seeing now is the result of the fallout from the skewed party branch elections and it is likely to get worse. It will cost Jubilee a lot of goodwill in Meru if a solution is not found," said Kathuri yesterday.
The MP said Jubilee members in the county felt the interim office was set up in a calculated move to predetermine the party primaries.
"The national office should consider reconstituting the branch office so that all the parties that closed shop to form Jubilee can be represented," said Kathuri.
"It should also be noted that TNA had more elected leaders than any other party including APK, thus it deserved a bigger share of the slots. The President should visit the region and consolidate his support."
He added: "We should be worried when key politicians in our party threaten to defect if the primaries are not free and fair, especially with the recent invasion of neighbouring Tharaka Nithi by the Opposition."
Jubilee elections across the country witnessed violence, with some members claiming the outcome in many counties was predetermined.