Deputy President William Ruto will be keenly watched as President Uhuru Kenyatta meets with Jubilee’s key decision-making panel, the National Management Committee.
The Star has established Uhuru will chair the NMC meeting on Thursday at State House. Members of the parliamentary leadership have been invited.
The meeting is a precursor to a Parliamentary Group Meeting to be held on June 2, when the National Assembly reconvenes from a one-month recess.
Ruto on Thursday last week lost his case before the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal where he was challenging reconstitution of the NMC.
It is not clear if the DP and his allies would attend the crucial meeting on Thursday to endorse sweeping changes to the National Assembly leadership and approve the President’s working relationship with the opposition.
Ruto was conspicuously absent from State House when the President fired his allies Senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Susan Kihika on May 11, the Majority leader and Chief Whip, respectively.
On Monday Jubilee Party secretary-general Raphael Tuju confirmed the President had called for the meeting, which he termed “critical” to the party’s ongoing housecleaning.
“We are having a meeting this week. I am consulting with the party leader to settle on a date which would be anytime from Wednesday,” Tuju, a key ally of the President, said.
Tuju confirmed the ongoing purge in Parliament targeting members considered disloyal to the President would continue until the Jubilee house is in order.
National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata, as well as Senate Majority leader Samuel Poghisio, are among those expected to attend.
NMC members include chairman Nelson Dzuya, Tuju and five newly appointed members.
Ruto’s ally Albert Mutai, who is the Jubilee national treasurer, is also a member of the NMC by virtue of his position.
There are reports some of the DP’s allies may be locked out of the meeting or not be invited at all.
Select leaders who are part of the National Executive Committee (NEC) have also been invited to Thursday’s meeting.
Initially, Uhuru’s efforts to use the NMC to push his agenda were thwarted by Ruto’s allies who dominated it.
The NMC is required under the Jubilee constitution to execute the mandate of the NEC, which includes overseeing the secretariat and authorising any far-reaching political decisions.
Multiple sources have told the Star the NMC, acting on behalf of the NEC, is expected to recommend sweeping changes to the leadership of the National Assembly ahead of the Parliamentary Group meeting next Tuesday.
On Monday, Ruto’s allies claimed they were not aware of any PG convened next Tuesday at State House, nor did they have any idea about the agenda.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa told the Star that if the PG is convened, they would attend.
“I am not aware, but because we have known that there are some people who usually do that to execute their schemes, we shall be there by 6 O’clock waiting for their agenda,” he told the Star.
The President’s allies are said to be pushing to axe Ruto’s supporters in key positions in the National Assembly, among them Washiali (Mumias East), his deputy Cecily Mbarire (former Runyenjes MP and now nominated) and committee chairpersons.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Murkomen and his Nakuru counterpart Kihika were removed because of their loyalty to Ruto.
Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki also was removed as deputy speaker.
The NMC meeting is also expected to give President Kenyatta a free hand to enter into a post-election coalition with opposition parties or sign cooperation agreements.
“As you are aware, the National Management Committee assumed the mandate of the NEC in line with the Jubilee constitution. In the absence of the NEC, the NMC is the supreme decision-making organ of the Jubilee Party,” a Jubilee official aligned to Uhuru’s faction said.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Rutto have received blessings from their top party organs to sign working arrangements with the President.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s ODM party is developing a working arrangement with the Jubilee coalition. It also includes Kanu, which signed a coalition agreement on May 2.
(Edited by V. Graham)
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