Jubilee urged to hold grassroots elections in Rift Valley

By Stephen Mkawale | Tuesday, Sep 4th 2018 at 00:00
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Jubilee secretary General Raphael Tuju at a past press conference. [File, Standard]

Some Jubilee Party legislators in the Rift Valley are calling for grassroots elections.

The leaders said this would open up space for members to participate in party activities while strengthening it.

Those who spoke to The Standard yesterday said the absence of elected party officials had made it almost impossible for them to push Government agenda in both the Senate and National Assembly.

"For instance, we do not know the position of the Government on many issues, including implementation of the 16 per cent VAT on fuel,” said Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria.

He said most of the time, Jubilee MPs made decisions on issues based on their own understanding and not on the basis of the party position.

Molo MP Kimani Kuria said the grassroots elections were long overdue.

"Our counterparts in the Opposition have elected party officials with clear roles. This has proved effective at both levels of Parliament," he said.

“Time has come for Jubilee to elect officials to end this drama. If we borrow a leaf from ODM (Orange Democratic Movement), they have a party chairman who is an elected MP. This has made it possible for them to push their agenda in the House.”

Interim officials

He said interim officials may not necessarily represent the views of the party and may not even be in a position to guide the party effectively.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot said the party should hold elections as promised to members. 

“It is time Jubilee called for grassroots elections. This will strengthen Jubilee in both the Senate and National Assembly."

Jubilee's grassroots elections were set to be held 90 days after the last General Election.

Current officials were handpicked by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to serve on an interim basis after the merger of various parties, including The National Alliance and United Republican Party in 2015.

But the party's attempt to hold elections was thwarted by chaos across the country that prompted party principals to call them off.

Two weeks ago, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said Jubilee was the only party without elected officials and warned this could hurt its cause. He said Jubilee should hold grassroots elections to compete fairly with the Opposition.

"The Government in any democracy is the product of a political process. It is political parties that give birth to governments," he said.

Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri echoed Kuria’s sentiments, admitting that the current structure was weak.

“Elected leaders are best placed to hold a party's leadership positions. The current party officials are appointees who are not directly answerable to the supporters. They also draw salaries, which would not be the case if the position was held by an elected member. Some of the officials know nothing about the handshake and Jubilee's agenda,” Mr Kimani said.

The calls come amid speculation that some Jubilee leaders are planning to wrest the party from the Deputy President ahead of the 2022 elections.

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