Jubilee machinery’s all-out assault on Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential ambitions went a notch higher on Saturday, with a new frontal attack against his eligibility to run in the 2022 polls.
And to deliver the message home was none other than Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe, a man whose consistent, unrestrained and courageous assault on his own deputy party leader has set tongues wagging.
Murathe is no ordinary Jubilee leader. A close friend of President Uhuru Kenyatta for more than 20 years now, the ex-Gatanga MP calls the shots in the President’s party and of the Jubilee brigade he is one least likely to contradict the head of state.
At a burial in Rarieda, Murathe said Ruto is not eligible to run for president in 2022 because his fate is constitutionally intertwined with the President’s. He said his side will be seeking the Supreme Court’s advisory opinion on the matter ahead of the election.
“Section 148 of the Constitution says nobody can run for Deputy President for more than two terms. And why does it say that? Because Section 142 also says nobody can run for President for more than two terms, and this presidency is a pair... If for whatever reason the president is not able to carry out his functions, who becomes the president?
Can the President sack the DP? Can he? So in essence, if he automatically becomes President without going for the mandate of the voter, it means he is still riding on the very first mandate they were given as a pair. Then that it is why he can’t run again...” Murathe said.
Essentially, Murathe was saying by 2022, Ruto will have run his full course and would not therefore qualify subject to an advisory of the Court.
Murathe said since the Constitution gives similar qualifications for the Deputy President as those of the President, and goes ahead to classify them as one entity, both at the party nomination and at the main election, then their fate cannot be separated.
He said he was happy that the DP’s side was taking him seriously on his caution against his 2022 bid. He cited the DP’s earlier statement that he is welcoming competition for the Jubilee ticket nomination.
“At least now we can see people are sobering up. Yesterday they said they don’t mind nomination and once defeated they will support the winner. They are no longer chest-thumbing around,” he said.
At the burial of Kefa Oduor, Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju’s brother, Murathe described Tuju as his “partner in crime.” He said their crime was supporting the handshake steadfastly and said they will not budge.
When Tuju addressed the mourners, he did not relent either. He said the party’s 2022 presidential choice is not yet sealed, and that Ruto should not celebrate that he will succeed President Kenyatta on a silver platter.
Tuju said he was still active in the national politics, and was keen on who becomes Jubilee Party’s presidential candidate and even the country’s next president.
“I sympathise with those discussing 2022 because we still have a lot of things to sort out,” said Tuju.
Murathe also welcomed Siaya Senator James Orengo to consider running for president if Raila does not vie. He said the handshake may as well mutate into a “Jubilee National Coalition”.
“Kwani iko nini (what is wrong with that?),” he retorted.
Before his arrival at the burial, some Nyanza leaders said the 2022 race is a race between Raila and Ruto. Led by Orengo and ODM Chairman John Mbadi, the leaders said all indications were that the battle was for Raila to lose.
Central Kenya votes
Mbadi opened the can of worms when he said with the handshake between President Kenyatta and Raila, the opposition leader had a stake of the Central Kenya votes, as opposed to the previous elections.
According to Mbadi, political trends in Central Kenya has always seen a leader groomed to take over once one of their own is exiting the country’s top seat, a situation which has not been witnessed this time even as President Kenyatta nears the completion of his second term in office.
“Never before has Raila been this close to power. And there are all indications that those people (Central Kenya people) will vote for Raila,” he said.