President Uhuru Kenyatta won’t give in to hostile Jubilee MPs, says Jubilee Alliance Party Vice chair David Murathe

Deputy President William Ruto greets pupils of Ndonyo Chege Primary School, Murang’a County when he toured the school. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administartion has vowed to tear all corruption networks and will not bow to ‘hostile’ MPs. [PHOTO: DPPS].

President Uhuru Kenyatta will not cede ground to Members of Parliament from Central Kenya out to frustrate efforts to weed out corrupt elements in the Jubilee government, his allies say.

The President has vowed to tear apart corruption networks, which allies say is the beginning of deliberate efforts to create his legacy after a series of miss-steps.

Speaking a day after two Jubilee MPs joined forces with the Opposition in the attempt to shoot down a Pensions Amendment Bill, Jubilee Alliance Party Vice chair David Murathe revealed for the first time why President Kenyatta purged some high-profile civil servants, believed to be key to his administration.

The amendment, however, sailed through the House effectively denying former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka their pension.

Mr Murathe claims there is a likelihood that some ‘militant’ MPs belonged to a faction that was running a “parallel government”.  He says the MPs are blackmailing the President to attract his attention.

“There is a disconnect. We would have expected The National Alliance (TNA) party Chairman Johnson Sakaja to articulate the position of the party leader. As chairman of the President’s party, it is sometimes prudent to keep personal opinions to yourself. It is true there is disconnect and I like their boldness,” Murathe, who is President Kenyatta’s confidant told The Standard on Saturday.

Over the past two weeks, Jubilee government has also witnessed increased pressure with Rift Valley MPs staying away from a church function Deputy President William Ruto attended at an Eldoret church last Sunday. 

But it is the rejection of Dr Monica Juma to the post Cabinet to the Secretary, a position previously held by sacked Francis Kimemia, that elicited immense hostility from mainly Jubilee side of Parliament, which has a majority.

It is said that some MPs are still beholden to Mr Kimemia and are on a warpath to ensure their benefactor is given a plum job in government.

Murathe acknowledges Kimemia’s influence in government, but warns, “If they (Jubilee MPS) are trying to attract the attention of the President, they are mistaken. The President will not be told what to do. He is going to subject the rebel MPs to the court of public opinion.”

On Thursday, some legislators openly accused the President of paying too much attention to a clique that is “notoriously” misadvising him. Led by Sakaja, the lawmakers while debating President Kenyatta’s proposed amendments to the Pensions Bill, closed ranks with the opposition to shoot down the changes the President wanted included in the Bill.

“There are people who are misadvising the President to make him look petty and vindictive and those people are not doing us a service?” said Sakaja.

And Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando was more blunt in his criticism of President Kenyatta’s move, which he described as showing a bad image of the President.

The Jubilee MPs condemnation of the President’s amendment that barred Raila and his CORD co-principal Kalonzo from getting their retirement dues. Some of the MPs have vowed not to endorse any presidential nominee until Kimemia is given a job. Kimemia, together with former Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo and former Transport Cabinet Secretary Macharia Kamau were shown the door after a report by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission implicated them in graft.

While Kamau has been charged, Kimemia and Iringo were absolved of any wrongdoing.

In Rift Valley, the DP’s stronghold, Kesses MP James Bett, defended his absence at the President and Deputy President’s functions, saying it is not obligatory. Bett is accused by DP’s close allies of disrespecting Ruto.

“These are lies. The DP has always enjoyed massive support from all leaders, allegations about me are baseless,” he said.

Philip Chebunet, the head of communication at University of Eldoret, explains the rebellion in Rift as a result of his hard stance on those who do not support his ideologies.

 “There are growing concerns among leaders in the region especially those who silently do not support Ruto’s vision that if they appear on any platform with him, they are likely to be dressed down at any given function,” he said.