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Fear of fallout forces President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto to retain old Jubilee Party officials

POLITICS
By Rawlings Otieno | September 14th 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto averted a scramble for top party seats in the new Jubilee Party by submitting a list of officials that led their previous party.

The new list is now with the Registrar of Political Parties who says the submission was in order since Jubilee did not dissolve itself but just changed its name.Officials of the old Jubilee have been retained in the new party launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, on Saturday. 

The decision to recall the officials of Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) to lead Jubilee Party is seen as a strategy to forestall jostling for positions by top guns from parties that dissolved to merge with the newly-formed outfit.

It has emerged that given it is JAP that was renamed Jubilee Party, the lineup of officials of the former has been filed with the Registrar of Political Parties, albeit with the addition of Uhuru and Ruto as party leader and deputy party leader, respectively.

Yesterday, Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u clarified that since JAP was not dissolved, but was renamed Jubilee Party, its officials remain in office until the new party conducts elections or files a new list.

Retain group

“JAP did not dissolve and the officials of JP are the same since JAP only changed the name to Jubilee Party. I have received an additional two names that were announced during the party launch,” explained Ndung’u, referring to the Saturday launch of JP where Uhuru and Ruto were named as the leaders.

She went on: “I am still going through the documents to check if they have complied. The process is likely to end on Thursday (tomorrow).”

Going by this announcement, the officials are Mr Nelson Dzuya (chairman), former Gatanga MP David Murathe (vice chairman) and Veronica Maina (secretary general).

Ms Maina is deputised by Mr Caleb Kositany and Fatuma Mohamud. The party’s treasurer is Mr Alfred Kipkorir while Mr Abdul Hajji, is the party’s organising secretary.

It would appear the Jubilee leaders opted to retain the group as interim officials to avert the power struggle that was emerging as leaders of 11 parties that dissolved jostled for posts in JP.

Initially, it had been reported that Uhuru and Ruto would name interim officials of the new party during its launch on Saturday but that did not materialise lending credence to speculation on the scramble for the posts.

Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka whose New Ford-Kenya was among parties that dissolved had warned that JP may not take off well if regions that did not vote for Uhuru in 2013 were not incorporated as “equal partners”.

“We joined the Jubilee Party to have an outfit that will represent the face of Kenya. It is wrong for anyone to think some regions are junior to others. That is unacceptable and we will have no other option but rethink our stand,” Lusaka had warned as his party demanded treasurer or secretary general’s post.

The latest development would add to the controversy given officials of the parties that wound up, particularly The National Alliance (TNA) and United Republican Party (URP), are in the cold without offices, but expect to be accommodated in the new outfit.
Sources revealed consultations on how to accommodate officials of former parties in the new party were ongoing but it was not clear whether they will be in the new outfit given that grassroots elections shall be held after the 2017 elections.
According to the JP Constitution, there are supposed to be 29 party national officials, which means that there are still 20 slots to be filled considering the registrar has a list of nine.  In addition there are party county structures that include 47 county chairmen.

The Constitution states that the National chairman will be deputised by three people and provides for the offices of secretary general, treasurer, organising secretary, Director of Elections and Director of Protocol with three deputies each.

Other national positions include the Women’s league chairperson, Youth league and Persons with disabilities chairpersons.

Apart from the national officials, the party has an elaborate Secretariat with Executive Director as the head and eight other directors in charge of finance and administration, communications and programmes, Political Affairs, Strategy and Elections, Membership Development and legal affairs.

Others are Economic and Social development directorate, Logistics and Events and Parliamentary and Inter-governmental affairs.

A source privy to the process and who sought anonymity revealed that the leadership will ensure special consideration is given to regional and ethnic balance as well as marginalised areas, when these positions are filled.

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