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Relief for Jubilee aspirants as President Uhuru Kenyatta disbands his campaign team

POLITICS
By Mwaniki Munuhe | January 14th 2017
President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing jubilee aspirants during the launch of Jubilee party membership smart-card at Kasarani indoors arena on 13/January/2017. PHOTO BY EDWARD KIPLIMO.

Jubilee Party (JP) yesterday formally launched a massive voter listing strategy through a smart card device that will be used to register and track voters.

The event, which also served as a platform for President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to enumerate Jubilee achievements, was one of a kind. It saw the dissolution of the recently formed presidential campaign team, which comprised a few elected leaders.

The move was meant to dispel fear among aspirants that the Jubilee administration had preferred candidates. Jubilee insiders and strategists believe the situation would stand in the way of efficient recruitment of party members because those who fear going through the nominations would push voters to register in parties where aspirants feel safer.

The Standard on Saturday established that the decision to dismantle the presidential campaign team and instead have one that includes all aspirants was taken by President Kenyatta earlier last week. He placed a call to the team’s head, Raphael Tuju, and directed him to abolish the team. He told Tuju that all aspirants are members of his campaign team.

The decision, insiders say, was reached after a convergence of formal and informal intelligence that some members of the presidential campaign team had taken advantage of their appointment to the detriment of their opponents.

All inclusive

Yesterday, Ruto confirmed this position when he publicly told Jubilee aspirants who had gathered at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani, that President Kenyatta had already directed Tuju to abolish the team and form an all-inclusive one.

“We want free and fair nominations and I want to inform everybody that the President has already directed Mr Tuju that all aspirants must now join the presidential campaign team. That is not enough, we want all Jubilee members to join this team,” said Ruto.

His remarks came minutes after Kiambu Governor William Kabogo took to the podium and told the DP that aspirants were apprehensive about members of the campaign team because they were creating the impression of being preferred candidates by the JP leadership.

The party has adopted a unique strategy completely away from the line of thinking that characterised the 2013 primaries.

In the next one week, committees at the county, constituency and ward levels will be formed across the country.

The primary role of the committees, whose composition will be in consultation with all aspirants, will be to monitor, spearhead and keep records of registered party members to ensure they are all registered as voters.

The committees will also compete for national trophies and the committee that will record the highest number of registered voters at various levels will be awarded shortly after the mass voter registration is complete.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) begins the mass registration on Monday through to February 14.

Although the formation of the JP committees was not formally announced at Kasarani yesterday, President Kenyatta said the teams that would achieve the highest number of registered voters from the county to the ward levels would be awarded.

The committees recruiting party members and ensuring they are registered as voters will operate on a full-time basis and would receive full facilitation on matters relating to transport and accommodation.

It was not immediately clear whether any form of allowances would be paid to the members of the committees.

However, interim JP officials from national to ward levels will play an integral role in the operations of the committees.

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