Kanini Kega faction wants Uhuru to quit as Jubilee leader

Eala legislator Kanini Kega. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Jubilee Party faction allied to Eala legislator Kanini Kega is now accusing former President Uhuru Kenyatta of being behind the outfit’s woes and wants him to vacate his leadership position. 

A day after chaos rocked the former ruling party’s headquarters, in Nairobi, the national chairman Nelson Dzuya released a strongly worded statement seeking the intervention of the internal party organs in the wrangles pitting Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni and Kega.

Dzuya claimed that Uhuru has overseen a systematic emasculation of the agenda of Jubilee Party from within the Azimio. The former President is the Azimio Coalition Council Chairperson.

“It is unacceptable that under his leadership, Jubilee Party should continue to be treated as a junior partner in the Azimio coalition," read the statement in part.

“He (Uhuru) has never called or chaired any organ of Jubilee Party since the National Delegates Convention (NDC) held on February 26, 2022. It was therefore horrifying to see him emerge for the first time since that NDC in the manner in which he did yesterday,” it added.

The chairman said it was unfortunate that Uhuru had rushed to the defense of Kioni without first familiarizing himself with a ruling of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal.

And to justify his claims, Dzuya claimed that the former President as the Azimio Council chair oversaw the appropriation of the Jubilee membership position in the Parliamentary Service Commission by ODM.

There was also the convening of Azimio Parliamentary Group meetings by ODM and Wiper Democratic Movement to the exclusion of Jubilee Members of Parliament and the removal of Senator Fatuma Dullo as the Senate Minority Whip.

He also brought to the fore the removal of Nominated Senator Margaret Kamar from a Senate committee and replacing her with a Wiper lawmaker.

Dzuya further pointed out the marginalization of Jubilee in the appointment of key committees including the the Budget Committee and the failure by Azimio to nominate party members in the bipartisan talks committe.

“The government has publicly pronounced that he (Uhuru) is now enjoying retirement benefits in accordance with the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act. Section 6(1) of the said Act provides that a retired president shall not hold office in any political party for more than six months after ceasing to hold office as president,” read the Statement.

The Kega-led team is now calling for the removal –by law- of the former President as Jubilee party leader.

“By operation of the law, therefore, it can be argued that he is no longer legally the party leader of Jubilee Party. That said, this is probably a matter that ought to be considered by the relevant party organs and a decision made for the benefit of the members of our party,” said Dzuya.

The statement came hours after a pronouncement by Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe that they would initiate the process to recall Nominated MP Sabina Chege and Kega from Eala.

Murathe argued that the duo had contravened the party constitution and the laws governing political parties.

"We cannot have our member nominated and even appointed as whip, only to whip for the other side. Once a member has shifted allegiance like in the case of Kega and Chege, they are deemed to have resigned from the nominating party," he said.

"Azimio had de-whiped Chege as Deputy Minority Whip and Speaker Moses Wetangúla should effect the changes. We are now going to initiate the process of revoking her nomination to the National Assembly," Murathe added.

On Wednesday supporters of Jubilee acting Secretary General Kega and Kioni clashed outside the party headquarters in Nairobi. Tensions escalated, prompting police to lob tear gas canisters to disperse the warring factions who had forcefully tried to storm the party's offices.

Uhuru later appeared and seemed to take the side of Kioni as he called for peace.

The incident occurred as Kega and Kioni were scheduled to meet to address their differences, following a directive from the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal that the two parties resolve their issues internally.

The two are fighting over who should take over the SG position after the party's National Executive Committee meeting suspended Kioni as Secretary General.