In Summary
  • Adan Duale and Kipchumba Murkomen have called for Jubilee Party elections so that party leaders be mandated by members to make decisions.
  • Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto surprised both friend and foe by coming together in 2012 as UhuRuto (Kikuyu and Kalenjin coalition) to gun for State House in 2013.

The gloves are finally off. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have unleashed their troops on each other as long-simmering tensions burst into a political showdown.

Last Sunday’s resignation of former Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe, who also said he would lead a “Stop Ruto Movement”, essentially kicked off an all out, no-holds-barred political duel.

The leadership in and outside Parliament in Mt Kenya is split into three groups: The first one comprises vocal and unapologetic pro-Ruto allies opposed to what they see as a cold Machiavellian attempt to eject the DP from the Kenyatta succession line-up.

And this after helping Mr Kenyatta secure two terms in office.

The second group comprises a calculating lot that won’t show its hand too soon, waiting for a signal, possibly from the President, who has said his sole focus is on his legacy — the "Big Four" economic agenda, namely universal health, affordable housing, industrialisation and food security.

To these, he has since added uniting Kenyans and fighting corruption as the things he would want to be remembered for.

RECRUITMENT

Then there is the third group under the umbrella of Former Parliamentarians Association (Fopa), whose members blame Mr Ruto for their losses in the 2017 Jubilee primaries.

Most of those who trounced them are believed to owe their election and plum parliamentary committee memberships to Mr Ruto rather than the President.

The Fopa members have been vocal and visible, visiting ODM leader Raila Odinga in support of the “handshake”, and publicly wooing Amani Coalition leader Musalia Mudavadi to join other Nasa principles Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Odinga in the Building Bridges Initiative.

That will make 2019 an annus horribilis (terrible year) or annus mirabilis (wonderful year), depending on who wins the battle for the hearts and minds of voters in central Kenya.

There are only two standpoints: vindicating Mr Ruto and rebelling against the President, or rejecting Mr Ruto.

PARLIAMENT

Murathe’s departure, coupled with the newfound warmth between Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) core support base in Nyanza, point to a near-complete split in Jubilee between the pro-Uhuru and Pro-Ruto forces.

Indeed, Murathe last weekend publicly invited ODM Chair John Mbadi to crossover and form a “Jubilee National Coalition”, which he later equated to a “Stop Ruto Movement” to drive constitutional amendments that would undermine the DP's quest for the presidency.

The stand-off is now expected to escalate to the National Assembly and the Senate when they resume work after the Christmas break.

Although parliamentary business is affected by the Jubilee wars, the House leadership appears firmly on Mr Ruto’s side, with Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka leading a goodwill delegation to the DP’s Sugoi home.

National Assembly and Senate majority leaders Adan Duale and Kipchumba Murkomen have called for Jubilee Party elections so that party leaders be mandated by members to make decisions.

JAP

Mr Ruto and his axis have been ambivalent about the whole “handshake” and calls for constitutional amendments, which they view as schemes to scuttle his presidential ambitions.

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, a Ruto supporter, says the move by some Jubilee leaders to launch "unrestrained hostilities" against Mr Ruto are not surprising.

“We have been aware of these manoeuvres and only the patience, diligence, political maturity and statesmanship of the DP has brought us this far.

"This is why personally, many of my colleagues and I were opposed to to the merger of United Republican Party (URP) and The National Alliance (TNA) in 2016,” he said in an interview on Monday.

Mr Linturi said his reservations about the dissolution of the Jubilee Alliance Party (Jap) to from the Jubilee Party was informed by undisguised hostilities and wars of attrition the TNA leadership had waged against URP since 2013.

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