- He said Jubilee may not crack the whip on rebel members any time soon as it has adopted a tolerant approach.
- He said it is only the party’s Nec that can make a decision to expel or discipline any dissenting member.
- Mr Tuju reiterated that Mariga is the party’s bona fide candidate.
Deputy President William Ruto’s quest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 is not certain after Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said the DP is not the party’s automatic candidate.
Mr Tuju, who has for two months received a barrage of criticism from Mr Ruto’s allies over claims he was against the DP candidacy, yesterday reiterated that the country’s second in command is not their automatic flag-bearer in 2022.
But he said his position does not mean that he is opposed to the DP, noting that their relationship remains cordial and respectful.
“I have no apology to make whatsoever and I can repeat here that there is no automatic candidate for the Jubilee Party for 2022,” Mr Tuju declared during a live interview on Citizen TV.
He went on: “Anybody who says they want to vie in 2022 are welcomed. The person who has repeated this is the Deputy President himself. He has said it and repeated it, but my support for any member of the party will depend on who comes on the table.”
“But you cannot tell me at this particular moment and time that this is the candidate for 2022 — he’s the DP and you either support him or not,” the Cabinet secretary said.
He will be ready, he said, to receive all candidates if “I will still be the secretary-general at that time of elections in 2022.”
He noted that right now Jubilee is keen to ensure that the President’s development agenda is achieved, as well as unity of the country after the Kenyatta-Odinga peace pact of March 9, 2018.
“The President over the weekend talked about being Jubilee damu (Jubilee diehard), but Kenya is more important than Jubilee. I’m also Jubilee, but Kenya is more important than Jubilee. Therefore, at this particular time and moment we want to bring the country together.”
He added: “Some of these guys who do not think beyond their ethnic identity and ethnic attributes, which are sometimes in conflict with the national interest, therefore see me as Tuju the Luo not Tuju the Kenyan. That’s why some people say I should go to ODM. That is ethnic profiling.”
On Wednesday, Deputy President Ruto’s spokesperson David Mugonyi said the DP had repeatedly stated that he was ready for Jubilee primaries and was not keen on endorsement.
During the 2017 election campaigns, President Kenyatta had assured the DP of his endorsement for another two terms, but since the handshake, the Head of State has not repeated such utterances.
Mr Mugonyi said: “What Tuju is saying is what the Deputy President has said before about 2022. He has said it many times. On TV and publicly. He has said he is ready for Jubilee primaries and so there is no other take on it.”
Mr Ruto is on record stating that he was ready to face off with anybody interested in the Jubilee ticket in 2022.
“Jubilee will have a candidate for every position in Kenya,” Mr Ruto said in a past interview. “Nobody will be endorsed for any position. Right from MCA, MP, senators, woman reps, governors and President. If there is any outsider seeking the Jubilee ticket, kindly come early, Jubilee is a democratic party.”
National Assembly Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali said for now only the DP has declared interest in the top seat and hence many members are expressing support for him.
“But if any other person comes out, they will be subjected to a nomination process,” he said.
Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany also reiterated that the DP is not their automatic candidate, adding that the party is democratic and will give a chance to all contestants.
His sentiments were echoed by Senate Deputy Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata, who is also the Murang’a senator.