No end to rift as Jubilee gags MPs from 2022 talk

Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe says Mt Kenya MPs banned from politicking. [Courtesy]
Mt Kenya MPs conspicuously missing from Ruto’s Kwale entourage even as Kuria dismissed gag order.

Just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto held talks in a bid to restore unity in Jubilee, fissures continue to show.

The tone was set when a Jubilee Party legislators meeting slated for Tuesday was called off at the last minute. A gag order was then enforced among Mt Kenya MPs, barring them from talking about 2022 politics. As this happened, Ruto renewed his attacks on Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Also stirring the hornet’s nest is the issue of lifestyle audit that covertly started late last month under a Multi-Agency Task Team led by Attorney General Paul Kihara and which lawmakers from Rift Valley have said is a ploy to fix Ruto.

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Sunday Standard has learned that MPs allied to Ruto, especially in Mount Kenya region, were early in the week warned against accompanying the Deputy President to his meetings and instead concentrate on the development agenda in the region.

On Saturday, the Central Kenya MPs were conspicuously missing from Ruto’s tour of Kwale County.

Present though were a host of Coast MPs, including Suleiman Dori (Msamweni), Khatib Mwashetani, Stanley Muthama, Sharrif Athman, Gertrude Mbeyu, Lydia Haika, Christine Zawadi, Hiribae Buya, Owen Baya and Aisha Jumwa.

Gag order

Legislators Jones Mwaruma, Kazim Tandaza, Benjamin Tayari and Andrew Mwadime were also present.

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Jubilee Party Vice Chairman David Murathe told Sunday Standard MPs had been asked to concentrate on pushing the Government’s agenda, programmes and pledges and shun the 2022 politics.

“Watch this space, there will be no 2022 politics, especially in Mt Kenya in the near future. The MPs must support government projects and stop the politicking,” Murathe said

He added that the warning not to politick does not mean the MPs had been censured from moving across the country.

“Some of the loud MPs from Mt Kenya are busy sowing seeds of discord. Why insist that they will support Ruto when that is the succession plan of the party?” posed Murathe.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah and his Gatundu South counterpart Moses Kuria have been the most vocal supporters of the DP. Both have vowed not to be cowed from supporting Ruto’s 2022 bid.

SEE ALSO :Murathe quit 'but still party official'

Kuria however said he had not received such instructions from anybody.

“We accompany the Deputy President to development projects. I have not been gagged,” he said. 

A visit by former MPs from Mt Kenya to Raila at a Nairobi hotel last week and their ensuing statement sent perhaps the clearest of messages that some leaders in the region had started grouping with a view of shaping the coming political season.

A day later, Ruto renewed his attacks of the Opposition leader. 

Yesterday, Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny said there are plans for a meeting of Jubilee MPs to end the widening rifts. 

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“I have reached out to a number of my colleagues and the response is impressive. We will talk about recent issues that could cause a rift in the party,” Kutuny said.

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