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Jubilee power struggles for control of grassroot ahead of 2022 elections intensifies

By Moses Nyamori | August 20th 2021

Jubilee party headquarters, Pangani, Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Power struggle to control Jubilee grassroots structures ahead of next year’s elections, has ignited fresh infighting among a section of MPs and top party officials.

Some Jubilee MPs are said to plotting to plant loyalists as grassroots officials by taking charge of the planned restructuring of the ruling outfit.

But top party officials led by Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and vice-chairman David Murathe have opposed the scheme by the sitting MPs to run affairs of the party at the exclusion of their 2022 potential competitors.

Already, a forum bringing together Jubilee 2022 aspirants has written to the party demanding to be included in the planned restructuring.

The latest tussle has since seen some MPs revive calls for Murathe and Tuju ouster, who have, however, remained bullish. Yesterday, Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu accused the duo of running the outfit as a private entity.

Wambugu claimed the two officials have created a perception that Jubilee is run through dictatorship.

Personal mistakes

“This is meant to create an environment where they can operate with impunity and not be held to account for their personal mistakes at the party. That’s why they keep hiding behind the line ‘we have been instructed. These two guys must also really stop thinking they are the only ones the president speaks to,” Wambugu said.

He said they were ready for a competition between sitting members and aspirants but maintained that the party cannot be left in the hands of top officials.

“This competition between aspirants and incumbents in Jubilee is what will help us revitalise the party at the grassroots. So we welcome it wholeheartedly. What I want to see is communications from said aspirants defending and championing for Tuju and Murathe to stay on at the helm,” he added.

His Kieni counterpart Kanini Kega said elected leaders have a duty to play in revamping the outfit that has suffered humiliating defeats in recent by-elections. Kega said they will move on with restructuring grassroots offices without unnecessarily exchanging with those in office.

Strengthening the party

“We are working to strengthen our party and we are not going to engage anyone in a war of words,” said Kega.

“For us, we are already elected leaders and we have a responsibility to strengthen Jubilee. Aspirants are an amorphous group that cannot be compared to those in office. We are not ruling out anybody but we have to consider the elected leaders. We are not going to engage in any war of words with anybody because it is absolutely unnecessary,” added Kega.

Murathe had on Wednesday dared the MPs calling for their ouster to exit instead of using them as a scapegoat. He said the interim officials take express instructions from President Uhuru Kenyatta on every decision and can only be kicked out by the party leader.

“This is all about locking out their perceived opponents. They want to control the grassroots leadership. All these hullabaloos are for survival but we must ensure a level playing field for all aspirants and allow the electorate to choose their leaders,” Murathe told The Standard.

On Wednesday, MPs Wambugu, Kanini Kega (Kieni), Sabina Chege (Muranga), Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Jude Njomo (Kiambu Town), Ruth Mwaniki (Kangema), Mary wa Wamaua (Maragwa) and Gichuki Mugambi (Othaya) and, Simon King’ara (Ruiru) and Kabinga Wavayo (Mwea) demanded for an overhaul in the party leadership.

The caucus by the MPs from Mount Kenya called for cleaning the party grassroots structure, ridding it of officials who have joined other parties to ensure loyalists takes over the running of the party. The caucus, bringing together Jubilee loyalists in seven counties in Central Kenya and the counties of Nakuru and Laikipia, is one among many others caucuses who have undertaken to revamp party organs from Mashinani.

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