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Tuju: Ruto would have been out of Jubilee Party by now

By Jael Mboga and Winfrey Owino | July 25th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto at the memorial service of Bob Collymore at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi, 2019. [DPPS, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto is a lucky man because President Uhuru Kenyatta is a gentleman and respects the Constitution, Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju has said.

He said Jubilee has weighed in on claims that the DP is undermining his boss by leading early campaigns and opposing ideologies and positions taken by the ruling party.

This comes just days after the DP supported United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate and MP-elect Njunguna Wanjiku against Jubilee’s Kariri Njama for the Kiambaa by-election.

Tuju said President Kenyatta, who is also the party leader, was yet to crack the whip on his deputy, but claimed were it not for the law, Ruto would have been sacked.

“Ruto is extremely lucky. He opposed the 2010 Constitution, but that same law protects him from being removed unless he is impeached by Parliament,” said Tuju on KTN NEWS show Newsline.

He added: “The parliamentary procedure is very disruptive. We have to mobilise two-thirds of parliamentarians to impeach him. That will take months.”

His comments come on the backdrop of a split in the party that has seen the DP and his Tangatanga allied MPs declare their loyalty to UDA. On Wednesday evening, Tuju defended the party’s failure to deal with the DP who is accused of disloyalty to Jubilee. He also poked holes into Ruto’s hustler narrative, saying he cannot come in a chopper to deliver wheelbarrows.

Tuju said those pushing for him to resign over the by-election losses were malicious. He said there was a difference between the electorate voting to support a UDA candidate and voting as a protest against Jubilee.

He argued that the president has other things to do than engage his deputy, which include the implementation of his development agenda to create jobs for the youth and improve the economy.

“The president would rather spend his remaining days focusing on building the country and not the DP’s removal,” said Tuju.

He downplayed the Kiambaa by-election as “no big deal”, adding that the president did not attend the campaigns in the run-up to the July 15 mini poll. “If it were important, he [the president] would have been on the ground,” Tuju said.

He said Uhuru was focusing on important things. “That for me is more important than him going to campaign in Kiambaa and he’s not on the ballot next year,” he said.

Tuju said Ruto was actively campaigning because what matters to him was winning next year. The SG was also put to task over the party officials’ efficiency, having watched Jubilee lose Kiambaa and Juja by-elections and win Muguga by 27 votes. On whether he should step aside, Tuju said those calling for his removal left before him. He said the ridge in the party has further been deepened by mini-polls that have seen Ruto field and support non-Jubilee candidates.

The infighting within Uhuru’s team has been linked to losses in recent by-elections, as everyone claims to be in charge, more so the secretariat, clashing with the parliamentary leadership.

In the Juja by-election, the Jubilee candidate lost to People’s Empowerment Party affiliated with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. The party also lost Rurii ward seat in Nyandarua to UDA.

On the Kiambaa by-election, Tuju denied that it was the party pushing for the recount and that such demands can only be made by the candidate. Njama had conceded defeat earlier before considering the petition.

The latest development comes amid claims that millions of shillings allocated for the campaigns were at the heart of the infighting among top party leaders.

Some reports indicate Jubilee forked out money to finance the campaigns spearheaded by the parliamentary leadership. This triggered a blame game, with a section of Kieleweke MPs demanding Tuju’s resignation and removal of Vice-Chairman David Murathe.

But the secretariat demanded that those who were in charge of the campaigns account for every shilling.

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