Exactly 18 days shy of celebrating its second birthday, the Jubilee Party is teetering on the brink of political precipice as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession takes baby steps.
A demand for automatic presidential ticket for Deputy President William Ruto, a President worried about his legacy, a handshake and divided loyalists, this is the summary of the state of the Jubilee behemoth that once bestrode the country.
Beneath the veneer of the imposing Jubilee House in Nairobi’s Pangani area is the story of push and pull, sucker punches and backbiting pitting two camps allied to the two leaders.
While one group is pushing for the assurance that the political pact entered between President Kenyatta and Ruto will lead to automatic and smooth succession involving the two in 2022, the other group wants politics shelved “until the opportune time.”
In what is threatening to consign another Kenyan political ‘special purpose’ vehicle into the dustbin of history, a full revolt appears to have erupted, only two years since it was forged through a merger of more than 10 allied parties.
Whereas the merger was touted as the start of a new formidable party that would dominate politics for the next two decades at least, things appear to have broken down to a public spat between key allies of the two Jubilee point men.
But Sakaja concedes that lack of meetings and constant communications from the party might have led to anxiety. He said a planned retreat will iron out the issues. Rift Valley leaders have, however, vowed to skip any party meeting called by the secretariat.
“We’ll only attend a retreat called by Uhuru or Ruto. Anyone else has no authority to call us to a meeting. The secretariat’s role is to organise stationery and refreshments in such meetings,” Cherargei said.
It is an ironic turn for a party that only two years ago was singing same song; 10 years for Uhuru and 10 for Ruto.s
The party is nevertheless maintaining a facade of tranquility with Secretary General Raphael Tuju and vice chairman David Murathe affirming its vibrancy. “When you hear voices from members, it means the party is alive,” said Tuju.
“Jubilee is growing stronger and stronger under the able leadership of our party leader who is also the President of the republic. Please, do not be cheated…. the ship is steady,” Murathe added. He said asserting discipline within the party ranks should not be mistaken for divisions.