Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Wednesday, 09 Nov 2016 15:03 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
The naming of the 61 regional Jubilee Party campaign coordinators by President Kenyatta last Friday has continued eliciting protests. The party's supporters in the Coast region are putting pressure on Nominated Senator Emma Mbura to quit the party for being left out of the team. Similar protests have been witnessed elsewhere, including in Nyeri County where Deputy President William Ruto - who incidentally had read the names of the 61 officials at during the party's meeting at the Bomas of Kenya - being heckled by party supporters protesting the naming of Governor Nderitu Gachagua as the head of the party's Nyeri bureau.
Party Members annoyed by the turn of events want Ms Mbura to join another party through which she would vie for the Rabai parliamentary seat against incumbent William Kamoti of ODM. However, the senator has vowed to remain firm in the party despite what her close associates say are attempts to kick her out of the party. “Unless the party betrays me, I will not betray it,” said an adamant Ms Mbura. She said she won’t leave the party stating that it is where she has been working for all her political life.
Those named to lead the Jubilee campaigns at the Coast region included Taveta MP Naomi Shaaban, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and Kilifi Woman Representative Zainab Chidzuga, former Garsen MP Danson Mungatana, Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro and Mombasa politician Suleiman Shahbal.
Senator Mbura said her close ties with activist Okiyah Omtatah is what cost her a place in the Jubilee campaign team in the Coast. "Jubilee is jittery about me because I am close to Omtatah. But my closeness to him is because I have been working with him in the activism sector all along,” she said, explaining that Mr Omtatah is not a supporter of the opposition coalition CORD as many people think. “Omtatah is neither Jubilee nor CORD, he is on the side of justice.”
The senator said Jubilee does not want its members to associate with non-Jubilee members, a matter she said does not auger well with her. “I will not severe my friendship with other people because of party matters. I am friendly to Ida Odinga, who is ODM by blood. This will not affect our friendship,” she stressed.
A local ally of the senator, Ali Salim, accused President Uhuru of underrating the work of his lieutenants at the grassroots level. “Senator Mbura has been Jubilee through and through. She has been campaigning for President Uhuru since the TNA days. Why is she being sidelined and recent ODM defectors given big roles in the party campaigns?” Mr Salim wondered.
On Monday, Ms Mbura made public her frustrations saying it took her an enormous amount of soul searching during the weekend that she managed to stay sane. “In Kwale they picked Mvurya and Zainab who were initially in ODM. In Kilifi they picked Mung’aro, who is also from ODM. Shahbal was in ODM and moved to Wiper. Why not me yet I have been TNA, JAP and Jubilee?” she posed.
“My supporters are telling me, ‘Emma, move out of there’. But I cannot. I feel this is my home and I need to fight for it. It is like in marriage,” she said. Three weeks ago, Mbura accused Shaban of plotting her political downfall, but the MP was quick to deny any plot against the Senator. “I have nothing against her. I respect her as a woman leader and I cannot plot anything against her. Of what benefit will it be to me?” said Shaban.
And in what appeared like retreating from her earlier statement blaming the Taveta MP she said “Shaban is a good leader and deserves to be in the campaign team because she has been in the government side all through. She is experienced,” she said. However, the senator warned Jubilee against trusting outsiders more than original party members. “We have people in Cord who have girlfriends in Jubilee and Jubilee people who have girlfriends in CORD,” said Ms Mbura.