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Uhuru party’s radical plan to outsmart rivals

By Jacob Ng’etich and Vincent Achuka | Published Sat, February 10th 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 9th 2018 at 22:20 GMT +3
Raphael Tuju, the Jubilee Party Secretary General during an interview at the party headquarters in Nairobi. This was on 09/02/2018. [Photo/Pius Cheruiyot]

The Jubilee Party has set in motion strategies to transform it into a formidable force with a firm grip on the political and economic landscape.

It plans to borrow heavily from the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The party wants to set up an academy to train party officials on mobilisation, discipline and the implementation of its manifesto.

This will entail coming up with a party structure that will run up to the village level to ensure the ideology permeates to the grassroots. This, it says, will be managed by trained cadres.

China’s ruling party, CPC which has had a grip on the Asian economic giant since 1949, runs the country on democratic centralism which binds all members. This is the ideology Jubilee intends to use in order to join the strong political parties club in Africa.

To achieve this, delegations of party officials have visited the Republic of China for bench-marking on the running of the ‘biggest party’ in the world.

Last week, a delegation of CPC officials finished a week-long training of trainers of Jubilee Party officials at the party headquarters in Nairobi.

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The training comes less than a month after President Uhuru Kenyatta, Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju and vice chair David Murathe spent four days with the Africa National Congress (ANC) party officials during celebrations to mark 106 years in existance.

Part of the strategy is the appointment of a powerful Cabinet Secretary who will be mandated to ensure Jubilee’s interests are enforced in the running of government.

Despite not having a portfolio, Mr Tuju who is the third most powerful member of the Jubilee party, is set to have a say in all the 22 ministries.

Enhance the operations

If his conspicuous absence at the grilling of new CS’s is anything to go by, the precedence has already been set.

The Constitution stipulates that all nominees for the position of Cabinet Secretary must be vetted by Parliament before being sworn-in.

Tuju, who spoke to the Saturday Standard yesterday, downplayed his absence in Parliament terming it as not necessary given that he will be sitting in Cabinet as the Secretary General of the ruling party to ensure that the President and his deputy’s vision is kept alive.

“We are borrowing from best practice globally, strong parties keen on ensuring that its manifestos are implemented to the later have their officials in Cabinet,” said Tuju.

Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) which has held power since independence also has a minister without portfolio sitting in Cabinet. Uganda’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) and China’s CPC have similar positions.

While naming his new Cabinet, President Kenyatta introduced 22 other powerful posts. He said the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) “will further enhance the operations of Cabinet Secretaries in running various ministries.”

In the new strategy, all the members of Jubilee, especially politicians will have to tow the party line or risk getting stripped off their membership which will subject them to fresh elections.

Before being allowed to vie on the party’s ticket, all politicians were made to sign a code of conduct and allegiance to the party.

“We have stored all the documents the members signed before the elections. We won’t shy to go back to them in case there is misconduct, we do not want to be distracted by party indiscipline,” said Tuju.

Stripped of their posts

During the recent row in the Jubilee Party over parliamentary committee posts, politicians who were stripped of their posts were given little room to negotiate.

Moiben’s Silas Tiren, Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), James Gakuya (Embakasi North) and Marakwet East’s Kangogo Bowen had defied the party position and went ahead to vie and won seats to chair House departmental committees.

Tuju also aid branch officials especially in Jubilee dominated counties will check the running of their county governments and ensure that governors deliver.

“We want to have every party officials carrying the vision of the President all the way to the ground,” said Tuju.

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