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Jubilee leaders’ eight-point demand to party bosses

POLITICS
By Standard Team | June 21st 2019
From left, Soy MP Caleb Kositany, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri in Bahati Constituency on June 17,2019. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

Jubilee leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto want their party leaders to call for a parliamentary meeting to address grievances fuelling crisis in the party.

Interviews with numerous MPs gave a glimpse of eight key issues they want discussed at the meeting, to be chaired by the party leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

So intense is the push for the meeting, which according to the party constitution, is held at least twice every year, but has not been held since 2017, that some MPs have vowed to force its convention.

“Unlike during Jubilee’s first term between 2013 and 2017 when we could be called for PGs four times a year, none has been convened two years down the line in the Second Term,” said Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi.

Some of the issues they want discussed is the 2022 succession plan, handshake with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the referendum among other things.

“Jubilee is first a party because of politics. It wasn’t formed to last for only five years which means we need to know where we are headed beyond this term,” said Molo MP Kimani Kuria.

Lagging behind

Kuria said Jubilee was lagging behind when other parties have already identified presidential flag bearers or are in the process of forming alliances.

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara said it was apparent the party now has three factions that are causing confusion.

“Currently we have around three groups in the party. We have two groups dubbed Tangatanga and Kieleweke and a third group that has remained silent. This is a serious threat to the party,” said Kihara.

”Unity in the party is crucial, hence the need for a meeting to help end political squabbles that led to creation of Tangatanga and Kieleweke,” said Maragua MP Mary Waithira.

Bureti MP Japhet Mutai said the major agenda for the meeting should also include the handshake between President Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila.

“As the Jubilee Party, President Kenyatta has never told us the position we should take on the handshake. We must have the terms of engagement with ODM,” said Mutai.

Soy MP Caleb Kositany, who is also Jubilee’s deputy secretary general said: “We want to have a PG so that we can discuss and get to know about the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the handshake.”

He added that most legislators in the party wanted to deliberate on referendum proposals so that they can take a common stand should it take place.

 

Subukia MP Kimani Ngungiri said it was important for Jubilee Party to plan for the grassroots elections.

“We only have up to March next year to set up party structures,” he said.

“Right now there is the Big Four Agenda that need to be implemented, but there is no proper networking in government. Everyone talks but there is no unified direction,” said Sudi.

Aldai MP Cornelly Serem said a PG would be appropriate to address delays in disbursing funds, including those meant for the National Government-Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF).

“As we talk, we have only received 30 per cent of the funds. The president is bashing us to be at the grassroots when there are no funds,” said Serem.

“Sixty per cent of tenders in the country are given by the Government. Most of them have not been paid for, which means the contractors and their workers have no money. The effect trickles down to the common mwananchi who is now suffering,” said Kimani.

However, the Kieleweke faction see no need for an urgent meeting. Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said although he had issues a meeting was not necessary.

“The president has already pronounced himself on what he wants done – that people (should) go back to development and stop 2022 campaigns – what else will a PG achieve?” asked Kamanda.

Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati also said there was no need for a meeting as all the leaders were aware of their mandate. EALA MP Mpuru Aburi said: “There are the Tangatanga and Kieleweke outfits that we need to talk about, because we feel there is a growing rift.”

MPs Kathuri Murungi (South Imenti), Kirima Nguchine (Imenti Central) and Rahim Dawood (Imenti North) said the meeting should be convened to discuss various development and political issues

Ruto allies are, however, insisting on a meeting by whatever means.

“We will convene in groups and once we get the quorum pick a venue, whether State House or any other place,” said Kimilili MP Didmus Baraza.

The party constitution provides that the quorum for the meeting is a third of all Jubilee MPs, which translates to 68. Should the first meeting fail to attain the quorum, a second shall be convened not later than three months for which the quorum does not apply.

But those calling for the meeting face a hurdle: a PG meeting can only be convened by the party secretary general, in this case, Raphael Tuju, who is not seen as friendly to their cause.

Mr Tuju yesterday said MPs have not approached him with a request for the meeting.

“People should be genuine when they call for a PG meeting. It should not be like they are spoiling for a fight. We want constructive meetings,” he said.

Tuju insisted that the correct procedure must be followed to convene the PG.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale explained: “Members are supposed to inform the Majority Whip Ben Washiali and in consultation with my office and the Secretary General, then notify the party leader and the deputy the agenda of the meeting.”

Mr Duale sought to downplay the urgency of the meeting.

No crisis at all

“We will convene a meeting if I receive the party leader’s instructions. We have no crisis at the moment. There is no urgency,” Duale said.

According to Duale, the president and his deputy consult everyday.

“I was in a meeting on Wednesday with them,” he said.

However, the Majority Whip contradicted Duale, confirming that there are many grievances the party members want addressed.

“I have been approached by members. I tried reaching Tuju but he did not answer my calls,” said Mr Washiali.

As the push and pull goes on, MPs who spoke to The Standard poured their hearts out on the burning issues they want addressed.

[Report by Roselyne Obala, Steve Mkawale, Titus Too, Wainaina Ndung’u, Boniface Gikandi and Phares Mutembei]

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