By The Star
Deputy President William Ruto’s fight to maintain control of Jubilee could be jolted by the reorganisation of a crucial party organ and the quiet return of David Murathe.
Murathe, a close political confidant of President Uhuru Kenyatta, resigned as Jubilee Vice Chairman but the Head of State did not accept his resignation letter.
The Star has established that Murathe, a known political strategist, is back at Jubilee House with enhanced roles to oversee the re-organisation of some party organs seen as leaning towards Ruto.
Already, the party has engineered changes to National Management Committee, one of the top Jubilee organs, triggering a vicious war within the ruling party.
The restructuring of the NMC is seen by President Uhuru’s allies as inevitable to wrest the Jubilee party from Ruto’s grip prior to planned internal polls.
A furious Ruto yesterday rubbished claims that President Uhuru had sanctioned the changes to the crucial party organ.
The DP termed the changes “the work of political rejects, conmen and fraudsters” whom he said should be ejected from the rank and file of the Jubilee party.
“The President & party leader of JP (Jubilee Party) did not and cannot be a party to any fraudulent and illegal changes to officials of our party,” Ruto protested on Twitter.
Ruto’s public rant appeared to have been directed at Murathe and Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju, President Uhuru’s two key confidants in Jubilee.
The DP has previously accused Tuju of pushing for former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s agenda in the ruling party and termed him an “ODM strategist.”
The scramble to control Jubilee preceded by President Uhuru’s sponsored changes to the NMC could be the last straw to break the camel’s back.
Yesterday, Murathe maintained that the changes to the NMC were expressly sanctioned by the President himself and challenged the DP to confirm the same from the party leader.
“Ruto has been claiming that he talks to Uhuru. He should stop prosecuting the party on social media and talk to his excellency that he calls his brother,” Murathe fired back at Ruto.
Some Ruto allies claimed as many as 140 MPs allied to him had protested to the Registrar of Political Parties over the changes.
Lucy Nyawira, Marete Marangu, Walter Nyambati, Jane Nampaso and James Waweru replaced Fatuma Shukri, Pamela Mutua and Veronica Maina.
Murathe took Ruto head-on claiming that the President is the appointing authority of the officials of any Jubilee party organ including the NMC.
“I am back in the party to ensure a smooth transition, democracy and the welfare of all members is respected. The party is intact and we are working hard to ensure that every community has a right to lead this great nation.”
Murathe had on January 6, 2019, publicly resigned as Jubilee vice chairman at the height of escalating hostilities with Ruto, but he is said to have never formally submitted any resignation letter to Uhuru.
The former Gatanga MP also never forwarded any letter to the Registrar of Political Parties, a loophole that made him technically remain as Jubilee vice-chairman.
“My position is administrative and I will deliver what is good for Kenyans and the party,” Murathe said, pointing to his new roles.
Albert Nyaundi, the chairman of the Jubilee National Advisory Council, told the Star it was the prerogative of the President to make changes to any organ as he deems fit as the party leader.
“The appointing authority was and still is the party leader. He has veto powers on decisions of the leadership structures. He can effect any changes he deems fit,” he said in a statement.
The statement was signed by officials of other parties that folded to form Jubilee including Hassan Oman (UDF), Benjamin Muema (New Ford Kenya), Said Ali (Republican Congress Party), Petkay Miriti (Unity Party of Kenya) and Kalembe Ndile of Tip Tip.
The NMC is a key Jubilee organ that, according to the party Constitution, executes the mandate of the National Executive Committee (NEC) which includes appointing the National Elections Board.
The current Jubilee National Elections Board chaired by Andrew Musangi has been accused of leaning towards Ruto’s faction and Uhuru’s allies have been baying for their blood.
The NMC’s membership include the National Chairman, Secretary-General, National Treasurer, Organising Secretary and other six members appointed from amongst NEC membership.
While NEC, under the Jubilee Constitution must meet at least once every four months, NMC must meet once every two months, a provision that gives the latter expanded role to handle party affairs.