To most of the DP’s backers, the source of friction in Jubilee is the Uhuru-Odinga handshake.
- Allies of the President and his Deputy William Ruto have been pulling in different directions with regard to the 2022 presidential campaigns and the Head of State's legacy.
- But party vice-chairman David Murathe’s proclamation that the DP should exit from elective politics alongside his boss have caused the greatest storm.
The unresolved Uhuru succession puzzle within the ruling party coupled with a re-think over the “youthful” President’s political future and punctuated by his symbolic handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga are among the key factors that have caused unease within Jubilee.
While allies of the President and his Deputy William Ruto have been pulling in different directions with regard to the 2022 presidential campaigns and the Head of State's legacy, the boardroom wars and back-stabbings only came to the fore a day after Christmas. This was after the party Vice-Chairman David Murathe’s proclamation that the DP should exit from elective politics alongside his boss.
Coming from a man who was personally identified by the President as his representative during Jubilee’s formation, the sentiments of the one-time Gatanga MP cannot be wished away.
Indeed, Mr Murathe’s standing has since caused a storm within the ruling party, with Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru now leading the push for fresh elections for party officials.
The emerging rifts notwithstanding, National Assembly’s Majority Leader Aden Duale maintains all is well within the ruling party: “Jubilee is united more than any other time. However, being a national democratic party that allows its members — both rank and file — to exercise their freedom of expression, most Kenyans who are not used to this kind of liberty may be forgiven for thinking we have a problem in the party.”
Mr Duale says Jubilee is the only party whose members can freely criticise the party’s leadership in Parliament and outside.
On leadership of Jubilee, Mr Duale says that when the party meets next, it will come up with a road map for its elections. However, nobody in the party knows exactly when such a meeting will take place — an indication of Jubilee’s deep-seated administrative challenges.
Prof Peter Kagwanja, a commentator on political affairs, posits that Jubilee is no longer at ease over two main intertwined uncertainties dividing its elite right down the middle. The realisation that the President is officially exiting power, observes Prof Kagwanja, has put to question the role of Mt Kenya region in national leadership after 2022.
Presently, no clear successor to President Kenyatta in the region has emerged, a factor that is increasingly causing discomfort and a feeling of political vulnerability.
According to Prof Kagwanja, it is this fear of political vulnerability that has persuaded the President’s backers to be open to alternative manoeuvres including the referendum push that will give the region’s political leadership some relevance.