April 29th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Under pressure from Uhuru supporters, Jubilee to relax rule on small parties

In Nyeri, aspirant for women representative Cecilia Ndung’u and Tetu parliamentary aspirant Mukunya Muthumbi who have joined PNU associated with Meru Governor Peter Munya. In Mukurueini, aspirant Dr Karimi Ndirangu has joined Narc-Kenya led by former Justice Minister Martha Karua.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 26 Feb 2017 13:39 EAT

President Kenyatta and DP Ruto at the launch of Jubilee in September 2016.

In an expected blow to Deputy President William Ruto, top Jubilee Party leaders are considering relaxing the rule that barred friendly political parties from associating with Jubilee, opening the doors for three key regional parties to join President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election campaign as Jubilee affiliates.

The new policy is part of a rethink of Jubilee Party's requirements that all politicians supporting the president's re-election should join it rather than running on small parties. The rule, which was effected during the merger of several small parties in the monolithic outfit, was informed by the need for Jubilee to maintain its parliamentary strength in a tight election pitting it against the opposition coalition CORD or NASA.

However, the rule has caused friction among the president's supporters in recent months, with several popular candidates in the Mt Kenya and Rift Valley regions, which are Jubilee's strongholds, fearing that their political careers would tumble should the party's internal nominations be rigged.

As early as October, this website had reported, based on confidential CORD sources, while many thought he was committed to NASA, "Mr Moi had reached to President Uhuru with an offer that his party Kanu, which refused to dissolve with other coalition parties last month, be recognised as an integral part of the governing coalition". KANU's eagerness to work with Jubilee has become clear in recent weeks, concretised in an agreement between Mr Moi and President Kenyatta under which the party would support the president's re-election campaign.

A multiple of other small parties have not been as successful. Narc Kenya, Maendeleo Chap Chap and Party of National Unity have been blocked from associating with Jubilee, even though their leaders have shown commitment to work with President Kenyatta.

Despite this, the parties have grown from strength to strength, attracting political heavyweights from the Mt Kenya region who remain sceptical about the influential role incumbents are playing at every level of the new party's leadership.

The governing party's loss of strong grassroots leaders has led top planners of President Kenyatta's re-election campaign to rethink the policy, according to our sources. Leading Jubilee aspirants have joined small parties in anticipation that incumbent MPs would rig the nominations.

Among the defectors include Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti who has joined Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua's Maendeleo Chap Chap, together with his running mate Emilio Kathuri, Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi who will vie for woman representative, Mbeere North MP Muriuki Njagagua and more than 10 MCAs.

In Nyeri, aspirant for women representative Cecilia Ndung’u and Tetu parliamentary aspirant Mukunya Muthumbi who have joined PNU associated with Meru Governor Peter Munya. In Mukurweini, aspirant Dr Karimi Ndirangu has joined Narc-Kenya led by former Justice Minister Martha Karua. 

The new Jubilee Party decision, which is yet to be announced, will be a big blow to Mr Ruto who has been the one pushing for a moratorium on Jubilee Party's links with small parties, according to our sources in the party. A well-placed source informed this website that the president would give concessions to the policy, with some regions being locked to the Jubilee Party.

The costs of accepting the parties "are far much less than the benefits", according to a Jubilee Party source.

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