Jubilee MPs in all-out campaign to reinvigorate party in Mt Kenya

Members of the newly branded Jubilee Party follow proceedings during the popularising party meeting in Nyeri. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Jubilee MPs have intensified party mobilisation ahead of next weekend’s National Delegates Convention (NDC) where the party is expected to officially join the Azimio Coalition and declare Raila Odinga its presidential candidate.

This will also be the moment the party finally disassociates itself from Deputy President William Ruto and his allies who have founded the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Buoyed by their party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta's position that the time is ripe to start campaigns for the August 2022 elections, loyal Jubilee Party MPs have heightened political activities across the country with a special focus on Mt Kenya where it seeks to reclaim its dominance.

The MPs have pitched tent in the region where they have been meeting grassroots leaders in what they call ‘on-ground activation forums’ where residents are told about the party's activities and plans as it heads into August polls.

The leaders have so far held meetings in Kiambu, Nyeri, Murang'a, Nyandarua and Nairobi.

Bargaining chip

Each meeting has brought together about 1500 local leaders.

By the end of this week, they will have held 21 meetings.

They have aimed to hold 33 before next weekend's NDC.

In Nyeri County, the leaders started their meetings in Nyeri town, then went to Mukurweini, Tetu and Kieni constituencies.

Next week they will go to Othaya and Mathira.

Nyeri County MPs Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri town), Anthony Kiai (Mukurwe-ini), Mugambi Gichuki (Othaya) and Kanini Kega (Kieni) were accompanied by Kiambu County MPs Wanjiku Kibe (Gatundu North), Jude Njomo (Kiambu Town) as well as Nyandarua’s Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) and Garissa’s Shurie Abdi (Balambala).

The MPs urged residents to ensure the region does not allow the party to die since it’s the vehicle that their leadership will use in bargaining for seats in the next government.

"Our opponents have been claiming that Jubilee is dead. We told them that we were working and when the right time comes, we will meet on the ground.

"Our party leader has officially unleashed us to campaigns, we are facing them head-on," said Ngunjiri.

They also criticised Deputy President William Ruto for undermining the president.

President Kenyatta has vowed to lead the party's campaigns, despite him not contesting the elections.

Uhuru has indicated that he will be out to campaign for ODM leader Raila Odinga, with whom they have created the Azimio la Umoja coalition.

President Kenyatta has vowed to ensure that the party retains a majority in the National Assembly and Senate in the next administration, as well as get a majority of governors and MCAs.

He will continue serving as the Jubilee party leader even after he retires.

Ngunjiri, who is coordinating the party forums across the region, said they are taking their cue on how to deal with Ruto from the president.

They are especially emphasising the point first brought out to the public by the resident in Bomas when he accused his deputy of being impatient.

“It is like he wanted to be in charge during Uhuru’s term and still be in charge during his term,” he said.

The Jubilee MPs believe that their plans will rejuvenate their party, whose fortunes have dwindled with the departure of Ruto and his UDA party team.

However, Ngunjiri insists that the four-year silence by the party was what Uhuru wanted so that he could deliver his promises to Kenyans.

Kioni said that unfortunately, Ruto has been going around during the same period peddling lies about the party and the president, especially in Mt Kenya.

But they are sure they will turn this around.

“In fact, he has told more lies in Mt Kenya region than any other region in the country,” Ngunjiri also said, adding that Ruto had reached a point where he claimed he was the region’s kingpin despite Uhuru being the one.

National cake

Ngunjiri said that somebody who can spend four years spreading propaganda has no agenda for the area's residents and should not be given a chance to lead the country.

The DP, he said, has been using area MPs to undermine the president who is the community elder, which is against the Kikuyu culture.

Kioni on the other hand said that Jubilee will ensure that the promises to the region envisaged in the BBI are delivered and that the region has the right number of MPs to ensure the interest of the region are taken care of.

He also said that Mt Kenya will not have a strong presidential candidate and therefore needs to have a strong party which they will use to bargain with just as other communities have parties they intend to use in bargaining for a slice of the national cake.

Wanjiku Kibe said without its own party, the region, which has a huge voting bloc, risks being left out when the country develops its post-election development agenda after August this year.