Jubilee’s Kieleweke and Tangatanga factions are set to battle it out for the takeover of the ruling party affairs.
Jubilee is headed to staggered party elections pitting the allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and those of Deputy President William Ruto.
Ruto’s key allies in the Tangatanga faction told the Star that the DP wants to have an easy time in 2020 and 2021 to focus on his presidential bid ahead of 2022.
This will help the DP to establish new political realignments with other strong candidates at the national level.
The plan is also to allow Ruto to use the two years to attract strong and loyal politicians to contest for positions of Governor, Senator, MP, Woman Representative and MCA on Jubilee tickets.
“The (party’s) campaign period started on December 20 and ends on the last day. We will have elections from 27 January. The election will be free, fair and credible. We will also vet all candidates,” Carolyne Kamende, a member of the party’s election board, told the Star by phone.
Ruto’s side is confident it will beat the competitors as they are “short of resources and have no agenda for Kenyans”.
“Kieleweke has no agenda for Kenyans and that is why they are dead politically. Their main agenda was to malign, blackmail and attack Ruto. However, they can’t sustain their activities after their financiers pulled out,” Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said.
Other than the party leader post reserved for Uhuru and deputy party leader occupied by Ruto, there are 19 national positions to be filled.
Both sides are floating the names of people they want to take control of the party ahead of 2022.
The Kieleweke side wants to retain former Rarienda MP Raphael Tuju in the all-powerful position of secretary-general.
Tangatanga believes the position should go to someone more vocal and most importantly an elected leader.
The Ruto side believes it would be more effective if the party affairs are handled by persons who are elected.
There is talk that either Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria or Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen should take the position.
“If Kuria takes up the position, then Murkomen would be one of the vice-chairs and vice versa,” a vocal Jubilee MP told the Star.
The names of Kirinyaga Woman Representative Purity Nguirici and Soy MP Caleb Kositany have also featured prominently in the list of those being considered for SG.
Ngirici, a close ally of DP and who currently chairs the Kenya Parliamentary Women Caucus, is also being considered for the National Women Leader.
The vocal MP yesterday told the Star that she was still in the race for secretary-general, saying she has what it takes for the position.
“I have declared my interest in the position of SG and I hope that I will get the support of both men and women in the party.
“It is a position that requires a party loyalist who is firm in their decisions and dedicated to party affairs without being bought by external forces to wreck the party from within.”
There are three vice-chairs in the Jubilee structure with the proposal that National Assembly leader Aden Duale and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya take up one of them.
Others being proposed for one of the vice-chairperson positions are Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny, both in the Kieleweke faction. Another name being floated is that of Kandara MP Alice Wahome, a Ruto ally.
Waiguru confirmed that she will be vying for a position but she said the position remains a secret.
“I’m keeping my options open. Currently focusing on serving the good people of Kirinyaga county,” she told the Star by phone.
As per the Jubilee constitution, the new national officials will be elected by 19 delegates from each of the 47 counties.
In a previous interview with the Star, Tuju said the much-anticipated party election will be the “most transparent” assuring members that their wishes will be respected.
“All is set for the party election. We are one of the biggest parties in the country and the ruling party and therefore we will conduct a transparent election. We will agree on the methodology in line with our constitution,” Tuju said.
Kieleweke is seeking to maintain the status quo at the top with the retention of current chairman Nelson Dzuya.
The Tangatanga side, the Star is made to understand, would want Mumias MP Benjamin Washiali to take up the position of chairman.
“Our party is Jubilee and it’s the most democratic party in the country. In fact, Ruto is not the automatic candidate but we are waiting for others to declare interest so that they can compete,” Washiali said, adding: “For now, he is the only candidate who has shown the interest.”
Key Ruto allies added that the DP’s aggressive eight-month strategy seeks to place his political lieutenants in key positions during the March party elections.
It is understood the strategy will also entail taming Kieleweke legislators as they are opposed to his activities.
The Ruto side has lined up Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa for treasurer with a likelihood of battling it out with her Murang’a counterpart Sabina Chege.
For the positions of deputy secretary-general, Tangatanga will be floating Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai while Nyaribari Chache’s Richard Tongi seeks the position from the other side.
Tongi, who has been seen as one of Ruto’s allies in South Nyanza but with other MPs from the region, has been avoiding the DP’s functions in the area.
“The other two deputy secretary-general positions would be filled by one person from the Coast and another from Luo Nyanza,” one insider said.
The name of vocal Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who has been a critic of the DP, is also being floated for the position of deputy treasurer.
He is likely to face off with Narok Woman Representative Soipan Tuya whose name is being floated on the Tangatanga side.
The battle for organising secretary would be a Meru affair with the names of Meru Senator Mithika Linturi and Igembe North MP Maoka Maore being mentioned.
Linturi is aligned to the DP while Maore is a Kieleweke supporter.
There are also three positions for deputy treasurer in the Jubilee constitution, the same being the case of deputy organising secretary.
For the position of deputy organising secretary, the Star has learnt that the names of National Assembly Majority Deputy Chief Whip Cecily Mbarire and Silvanus Osoro – both Ruto allies – and Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni wa Muchomba in the Kieleweke faction are being floated.
Muchomba has been one of the bitterest critics of Ruto in the Mt Kenya region.
Other positions that are up for grabs are the National Youth Leader, the National Women Leader and the National Leader of Persons with Disabilities.
The Jubilee constitution demands that the party must hold polls three years after the current officials assumed office.
Currently, Uhuru holds the position of the party leader, Ruto-deputy party leader, Dzuya chairman and David Murathe the vice-chairman. Murathe resigned in January after a spat with Ruto.
Others are Tuju (secretary-general) and Mvurya (Council of Governors leader) among others.