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Ruto takes war with Uhuru to parliament

POLITICS
By Jacob Ngetich and Moses Nyamori | February 9th 2021

Deputy President William Ruto (centre) with Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (right), Garissa Township MP Aden Duale (left) and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama after a meeting with MPs in Karen, Nairobi, yesterday. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The implosion in Jubilee Party has reached a point of no return.

And now the ruling coalition, whose motto is ‘Tuko Pamoja’ (We are together) will have held separate parliamentary group (PG) meetings within 24 hours, to prepare the agenda for the House, which includes the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Yesterday, Deputy President William Ruto held a parliamentary group meeting of his wing ahead of the resumption of Parliament, only to be checkmated by President Uhuru Kenyatta a few hours later. 

The Head of State, in his capacity as the Jubilee Party leader, called a Senate PG meeting today at a time when six rebel senators have been expelled from the party and the Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata is facing the axe.

In what may be his boldest move yet, Ruto invited 139 Members of Parliament to his Nairobi Karen office, to plan their strategy in the House on the BBI and ‘Hustler Nation’ agenda.

Coming up with bills

After the meeting, some MPs are said to have signed letters instructing the clerks of the National Assembly and Senate to re-channel their monthly subscription from Jubilee Party to United Democratic Alliance.

Governors, senators and members of the National Assembly pay Sh10,000 subscription fee to Jubilee Party, which totals about Sh2 million monthly.

Sources in the meeting, that begun at 8am and ended shortly before 4pm, said the MPs unanimously agreed that they would be voting as UDA in both Houses and prioritise pro-poor legislation and policies which will support their agenda.

“We are now taking the ‘Hustler nation’ dream to both Houses by passing and even coming up with Bills that will help poor people; we do not have to wait until August next year when we are elected to the government before acting, we have begun now,” said an MP who sought anonymity.

Ruto allies said that they will push for the operationalisation of the recently enacted Tea Act, pass the Coffee and Sugar Bills and make regulations for the milk industry.

The MPs also plan to push the amendment of the Crops Bill to boost the farming of coconut, cashew nuts and bixa as well as make laws to support miraa farming.

The leaders agreed to mobilise supporters and officials in Jubilee Party to resign en masse and register with UDA ahead of the party elections in April.

The party, through the Tangatanga allied MPs and other elected leaders, said they will open offices in the constituencies before March with a target of registering eight million people.

Resign en masse

“We also agreed that by March next year, we can resign en masse from Jubilee Party so that we can have an ample time to build UDA and lead it to the next government,” said an MP.

After the meeting, Ruto did not address the press conference. Former National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale was tasked to communicate the meeting’s message alongside Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya and Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire.

Mr Duale dismissed plans to impeach the DP and dared Lugari MP Ayub Savula to table the Motion in the House.

“Removal of a DP is not a birthday cake, it is anchored under three issues of gross of violation of the Constitution, national and international law and gross misconduct, and to introduce the Motion one must raise a third and seek two-thirds majority approval,” said Duale.

“Savula is dreaming and thinks that an impeachment Motion can be executed in social joints, funerals and bars. I dare him to table this Motion in the House on February 11 if he is man enough,” he said.

The Garissa Township MP added; “We are tired and fatigued with these threats of impeachment. Bring it on, face to face, we deal with it once and for all. Savula will not use threats to solicit handouts from certain offices.”

Withdrawal of security

The MPs said the impeachment Motion will be a vote of confidence in Ruto if it failed.

Duale also tore into BBI proponents, saying they are operating from a dark room.

“Raila lied to the people of Turkana County that they will get Sh20 billion if BBI passes; the truth is, from Sh11 billion they will get Sh9 billion. Turkana alongside Marsabit, Tana River, Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, Tharaka Nithi, Isiolo and Lamu will lose up to Sh2 billion,” the Garissa Township MP said.

The MPs raised concern over government action against some leaders and political chaos.

“This evil scheme, which began with the targeted withdrawal of security of MPs, has now been extended to total withdrawal of official security coverage by police officers at meetings attended by the Deputy President,” read the statement by the MPs.

They added; “This is not only malicious discrimination, but it is also reckless dereliction of duty by the National Police Service, and a grave threat to national security.”

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya said there was no security during the DP’s tour of the Coast.

The leaders urged the Inspector General of Police to not to allow officers to be used to settle political scores.

The MPs told the Judiciary to refuse to be used to promote lawlessness and detention of leaders without clear charges.

They vowed not to allow the country to be taken back to the dark days and urged the national and international community to keep a keen eye on Kenya.

“The international community should put pressure on Kenya. The government was the one going against the law, we have seen people are being detained, the police and Judiciary should not be used,” said Mr Baya.

The MP warned against tribal political formations. “Tribalism should not be used, we want to see Kenyans as Kenyans. As ‘Hustler nation’ we believe every Kenyan should be empowered,” he said.

The MPs said BBI was not a priority for Kenyans and if the county has to vote, then it should be a multiple-choice referendum.

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