Uhuru riot act to Jubilee MPs

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking at the burial of former chairman of Youth Enterprise Bruce Odhiambo at Koru in Kisumu County on January 19th 2019. [Photo: Collins Oduor, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has read the riot act to rebel Jubilee MPs opposing Government programmes in Parliament. The President asked such MPs to quit if they did not want to support the party’s agenda.

Uhuru spoke at State House, Mombasa, yesterday during a meeting to push his legislative agenda. Deputy President William Ruto, speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Ken Lusaka (Senate), Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju and other House leaders were present.

It also emerged that during the Tuesday’s meeting with security chiefs, Uhuru ordered that all official meetings be held in Government offices on Harambee Avenue. 

“The President was categorical that the numerous meetings held in Karen should be held at Harambee. He said that even when he had to host people from his backyard, he would do so at Harambee House,” said a source.

The reference to Karen was interpreted to mean the numerous delegations trooping to the Deputy President’s official residence.

Yesterday, Uhuru censured the Jubilee leadership for failing to rein in rogue legislators, citing the near collapse of the Finance Bill, which had faced stiff opposition over the fuel levy fee.

Runaway corruption

Sources told The Standard the President expressed commitment to achieving his agenda and leaving a legacy that was not hamstrung by high political temperatures and runaway corruption.

The Head of State said he did not want to hear leaders pushing political agendas, adding that he would only give audience to those championing development issues.

He told the leaders they should henceforth stop politicking, support the Government agenda in Parliament and the Building Bridges Initiative, and end divisions in both Houses.

“He (President) said those opposed to his agenda would be asked to give way,” disclosed a source at the meeting, who described it as a dressing down.

Those in attendance from the Senate included Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet), Deputy Senator Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Majority Whip Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and her deputy Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a).

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township), his deputy Jimmy Agwenyi (Kitutu Chache North), Majority Whip Ben Washiali (Mumias East) and his deputy Cecily Mbarire (Nominated) were also present.

According to another source, Uhuru said it would not be business as usual for Jubilee MPs in the next parliamentary session, as they would be required to toe the party line and religiously back the Government agenda.

The President directed that MPs opposing his agenda, including the Big Four, be reprimanded.

“He ordered that the party strengthens its disciplinary committee to deal firmly with disobedient legislators, with the view to taking stern action against them. This, he said, could include expelling them from the party,” said another attendee who declined to be named.

The directive to MPs will also extend to non-performing Cabinet secretaries.

“He said those not working will be dropped,” said the source, indicating that the President had put his Cabinet on notice in the midst of persistent speculation of an impending reshuffle.

MPs allied to Ruto have openly registered their displeasure with some decisions made by party leaders, with those from the President’s backyard claiming they have been neglected in terms of development.

The President’s MP Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) spoke out on the matter, as did Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati). But Uhuru’s allies told them off and promised to support the President’s development agenda.