The war between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for the control of Jubilee Party has been reignited following proposed changes to one of its top decision-making organs — the National Management Committee.
In a Kenya Gazette notice dated April 6, 2020, Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu gave notice of the party’s intention to change its officials following the presentation of the list by the ruling party.
All those challenging the changes are allied to DP Ruto. The political outfit has forwarded five new names appointed by the party leader — President Kenyatta — to the powerful National Management Committee following the exit of three others.
In the gazette notice, Ms Nderitu lists the new National Management Committee officials as Lucy Nyawira Macharia, Prof Marete Marangu, former Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati, Jane Nampaso and James Waweru.
The team is in charge of the day-to-day management of the party alongside the National Executive Committee.
Former secretary-general Veronica Maina, Fatuma Shukri and Pamela Mutua resigned after securing jobs in government, according to the party’s Secretary-General Raphael Tuju.
But the proposed changes made by President Kenyatta have drawn strong protest from DP Ruto and his troops.
“As Kenyans are focused on the Covid-19 pandemic, some shadowy characters are attempting to fraudulently institute illegal changes in officials of Jubilee party. As deputy party leader, I have alerted the registrar of the fraud. Party members should know that the matter is being handled,” Dr Ruto tweeted Friday.
Before tweeting, the DP had written to Ms Nderitu on Friday to officially object to the proposed changes from his own boss.
“I have noted a gazette notice … purporting to change the membership of Jubilee party’s National Management Committee (NMC). Please note that NMC has never been reconstituted by the party neither have we ever convened NEC (National Executive Committee) to reconstitute NMC.
“In light of the foregoing, the intended changes of the NMC membership is, therefore, illegal and fraudulent,” the DP wrote.
Some of the legislators who have written the coordinated protest letters to the registrar are National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, deputy secretary-general Caleb Kositany (Soy), MPs Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu), John Kiarie (Dagoreti South) and Nixon Korir (Langáta), among others.
“Any changes involving the party in any way must be sanctioned by the relevant party organs through a formal meeting convened and resolutions and passed. And, therefore, the purported changes to the membership of the National Management committee or any other organ of the party is illegal and fraudulent and affront to the values of the party,” said the letter by the MPs.
A similar letter was written by Jubilee national treasurer Alfred Mutai, who said the National Executive Committee that could have sanctioned the changes has not met for the past three years.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale also opposed the changes and asked for minutes that accompanied the changes.
There are claims that at least 150 legislators allied to the DP have written protest letters to the registrar.
Yesterday, Ms Nderitu confirmed receiving the letters but could not divulge the exact number.
“I know there are a number of those who have protested, a majority through email, but at this point in time, I cannot tell how many they are,” Ms Nderitu said.
She disclosed that the legislators were within their rights to raise concerns.
In the notice, the registrar wrote: “Any person with written submissions concerning the intended change by the political party shall within seven days from the date herein (April 6), deposit them with the registrar of political parties.”
It is not clear why the legislators chose to protest individually, but sources close to the DP’s Tangatanga camp disclosed that the move was to exert extra pressure of the registrar.
Mr Tuju said there was no cause for alarm as the officials replaced had secured government appointments and, accordingly, resigned as per the law.
“We have certain members of our NEC and the National Management Committee who resigned for various reasons. They either got jobs, which would result into a conflict with their positions in the party,” Mr Tuju told Saturday Nation.
“All resignations have to go to the president, who is the Jubilee Party leader with reasons for resignation. He accepts the resignations and appoints replacement and that is exactly what happened,” Mr Tuju said.
The advisory council made up of former chairpersons of the defunct parties that dissolved to form Jubilee also said they were in agreement made by Mr Kenyatta.
“We appreciate and fully support our party leader in his recent reorganisation of the leadership of the party and wish to welcome the reconstituted Party National Management Committee,” read the statement by former Ford People chairman Albert Nyaundi.
The list also has Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe, who had earlier announced his resignation.
But Mr Tuju said the “resignation was not accepted by the party leader”. Others are Mr Tuju, Mr Kositany, Mr Nelson Dzuya (chairman) and Mr Mutai (treasurer).
Additional reporting by Wanjohi Githae.