- The renewed battle in recent weeks includes formation of rival lobby groups, raiding each other’s camps.
- There are also indications that vice-chairman David Murathe is still listed as a party official despite publicly announcing his resignation.
- Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen dismissed talk of a parliamentary group meeting to heal the cracks within Jubilee.
Politicians allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have intensified their fight for the control of Jubilee party, with each side employing underhand tactics to reign in the other.
The renewed battle in recent weeks includes formation of rival lobby groups, raiding each other’s camps, tussling over the calling of a parliamentary group (PG) meeting, and propaganda and mobilisation along the Kieleweke and Tangatanga fault lines.
Insiders told the Sunday Nation that calls for a PG meeting by the deputy president was a confirmation that the second in command had not only become impatient with his boss but also resigned to the fact that a chance for an internal mechanisms to sort the impasse had run out.
After he made the request, the president’s spokesperson Kanze Dena was dispatched to relay one message; politics was the last thing in the president’s diary.
The DP is understood, at least according to his handlers, to be confident of almost full control in the bicameral parliament and would easily have his proposals sail through.
It is a moment they can’t wait for and some of the DP’s allies say that since the infighting has almost gone past the Rubicon, they would openly take on their party leader and demand changes in the party structures. This includes replacing officials like secretary-general Raphael Tuju perceived to be opposed to Dr Ruto’s 2022 bid.
There are also indications that controversial vice-chairman David Murathe is still listed as a party official despite publicly announcing his resignation after telling off Dr Ruto.
But backed by periodical situational reports by the National Intelligence Service, the President’s side has been reluctant to call for such a meeting.
While the Tangatanga team allied to Dr Ruto boast of having the numbers in parliament, the president’s camp control State power and has key party officials on its side.
And with the term of the current office bearers set to end next March, the DP’s side sees this as an opportunity to install his loyalists who will help hoist his presidential ambitions in 2022. But just in case “Jubilee A” as Mr Kenyatta side is sometimes referred to in the corridors of power, has its way, an alternative political party for Dr Ruto is a strategy his close allies have not ruled out. With suspicion that the high number of new political outfits seeking registration is being driven by senior politicians, one of them — the Jubilee Republican Party — had stirred curiosity.
“It’s our hope to meet and correct ourselves, where one section of the divide has wronged the other," Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, DP’s lieutenant recently said.
Mr Kenyatta may not have spoken in public about the divisions rocking his party except when urging the elected leaders to shun politics and focus on development but his political handlers say he is firmly in-charge contrary to what many may assume.
The battle which is playing out in the open has seen groupings like Embrace, Inua allied to the president and his deputy respectively.
The latest is the incarceration of State House digital Director Denis Itumbi who now works for the DP over claims he authored a letter alleging a plot to kill Mr Ruto. The case has further polarised the party.
Amid the cracks, the opposing camps this week continued to accuse each other of employing dirty tactics to achieve their political goals.
The split comes amid heightened political temperatures occasioned by claims of a plot to assassinate Dr Ruto and allegations of a fake letter that has now turned the spotlight on the Deputy President’s office.
The initial complaint was that government officials from the Mount Kenya region — including Cabinet secretaries Peter Munya, Joe Mucheru, James Macharia and Sicily Kariuki and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho — held a meeting at La Mada hotel on Thika Road where such a plan was discussed.
The clamour for a referendum to amend the constitution and create an all-inclusive government has also heightened the political heat and escalated the split within the ruling coalition.
The formation of the Team Embrace Kenya, comprising women politicians supporting the handshake between President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga and a rival group known as “Inua Mama” which is allied to Mr Ruto have taken the divisions within Jubilee party to new heights.