DP William Ruto yesterday flew to the Coast for a closed-door meeting with local Jubilee leaders in Taveta.
Ruto, who was flown alone by a helicopter to the venue, is said to have discussed strategy to win seats in Jubilee elections in March with local leaders, including Taveta MP Dr Naomi Shabaan.
Among those who met with the DP at a vast ranch he is said to own in Mata were several MCAs and MPs elected on Jubilee ticket as well as party losers in the 2017 General Election.
The meeting comes at a time when the party is grappling with warring factions ahead of the party polls set for March.
Yesterday’s meeting, which started at about 12.40 pm, is said to have been organised by Taveta MP Naomi Shaban and was strictly for party officials. The long-serving MP, who has been a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, has of late been gravitating towards Ruto’s wing.
Also said to be closely working with the DP are MPs Jones Mlolwa (Voi), Andrew Mwadime (Mwatate) and Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi) of ODM, who however, did not attend yesterday’s meeting.
Sources indicate that those who attended included County Woman Representative and a close ally of the DP, Lydia Haika.
Others included MCAs allied to the ruling coalition, among them the county assembly’s Minority leader Ronald Sagurani, Jones Maskuji (Mboghoni Ward), Godwin Kilele (Sagala ward), Paul Kang’ethe (Marungu Ward) and nominated legislators Maria Chao and Frank Mmare.
Those who attended the meeting said the forthcoming party polls, 2022 succession politics and the Building Bridges Initiative report took centre stage.
Ruto is reported to have told the local leaders that they should elect leaders who fully support Jubilee administration’s manifesto and development agenda, and his 2022 presidential bid.
He is also said to have told the leaders to fully support the BBI report. “As party leadership, we have decided to support the BBI report to the letter. All party officials should also follow suit,” he told those present at the meeting.
He added: “I have come here to meet you so that we can strategise together on how to conduct peaceful party elections come March this year. We want the party to unveil its office bearers to propel the party to greater heights of development in future,” the DP told the leaders.
Ruto said he is assured President Uhuru Kenyatta will rally behind his presidential bid in 2022 and will not orchestrate a change in the constitution to cling to power.
The DP told the leaders that Jubilee had no plans to change the Constitution to remove the two terms presidential limit.
“Ignore the emerging factions as the party is one. There are no factions such as Tangatanga and Kieleweke as claimed by certain quarters. We are holding elections to not only to strengthen the party ahead of 2022 but also organise ourselves so that we can face our opponents united.”
President Kenyatta is the party leader while Ruto is the deputy leader. Dr Shaban and Ms Haika were not available for comment. Their mobile phones went unanswered. At the main gate leading to the venue of meeting in the private farm, there was heavy presence of security personnel
All invited guests had to produce identification documents in order to be allowed in.