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Tuju to seek elective position in Siaya after Jubilee exit

Former Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju when he addressed the media at Jubilee headquarters in Nairobi on September 6, 2021. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Former Jubilee Party secretary-general Raphael Tuju has vacated his office to vie for an elective post in Siaya.

Mr Tuju stepped down after “consultations with President Uhuru Kenyatta”, and is set to run for either governor or senate position.

Tuju was picked in September 2016 to lead the then monolithic party that had swallowed 11 smaller political outfits.

During the six years, Tuju spearheaded the party and in the last four years, he has dealt with a rebellion, led by Deputy President William Ruto and his allies. 

In an announcement made during the party’s NDC at the KICC last Saturday, Tuju said he was proud of his achievements as secretary-general and thanked the President for trusting him with the position.

“We discussed this, and he agreed with me. We are going to have a very busy and tough time during nominations, party re-branding and grassroots mobilisation. I cannot do both; I cannot be secretary-general, manage the headquarters of the party while also pursuing my other political engagements and performing duties assigned to me by the president,” said Tuju.

In an interview with The Standard, Tuju said: “I am a political animal. I have been a politician since I was elected MP for Rarieda. I now want to go back to the people and seek their mandate. I will not say which position I’m going for because as a political animal, I don’t want to alert my political foes of when I will strike.”

Tuju, who was also a Cabinet Secretary, but without portfolio, said he had a number of options and would consult with Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga, and seek their blessings before he declares the elective seat he wants.

Making his address after presiding over the convention, Uhuru expressed gratitude for Tuju’s services and offered him a position at the party’s powerful National Executive Committee (NEC).

“I wholeheartedly thank Tuju for his services as secretary-general since the party’s inception. I plead with him to accept a position at NEC, even if he has resigned as the party’s secretary-general. He is a hardworking and peace-loving Kenyan,” said the President.

Uhuru appealed to Raila, who was in attendance with Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and OKA’s Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and UDP’s Cyrus Jirongo, to help Tuju: “Baba, Tuju is our man in Jubilee. If there is a position he wants, help him. Let him not be in the cold. You, Joho, I have delegated that responsibility to you.”

Raila had minutes earlier been formally endorsed by ODM for president in the August 9 General Election. 

If Tuju decides to go for the Siaya gubernatorial seat, he will battle it out with the county’s Senator James Orengo and former Police Spokesperson Charles Owino.

Should he go for the Senate seat, he will face Raila’s elder brother Oburu Oginga, while at the constituency level he will fight it out with incumbent MP Otiende Amollo.