President Uhuru Kenyatta-led Jubilee Party is proposing a raft of changes in revamping itself ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Following the falling-out between Mr Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, the ruling party, which has been bragging of a huge support base across the country, now seems to be limping, with a recent string of losses in by-elections won by the DP and his allies.
Stung by these losses and intent on rebuilding the monolith that was just 62 shy of the absolute two-thirds majority in Parliament, Jubilee has now crafted a plan to separate itself with colours, symbols and logos, which might be associated with DP Ruto.
Dr Ruto is perceived as a “rebel” in the Jubilee government.
A meeting of the party’s technical committee, which Jubilee chairman Nelson Dzuya chaired, agreed that the party undergoes “full restructuring”.
Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe, Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and his deputy Joshua Kutuny, as well as leaders of both the Senate and National Assembly, attended the meeting at a Nairobi hotel on Friday.
TNA, URP colours
Mr Kutuny, who is also Cherang’any MP, told the Nation that since the ruling party’s current colours were derived from The National Alliance (TNA) of Mr Kenyatta and the United Republic Party (URP) of the deputy president, and since Dr Ruto has decided to propagate ideologies of United Democratic Alliance, they want Jubilee to be completely independent.
Jubilee party colours are red, yellow, black and white. Red was too conspicuous with TNA while yellow and black dominated URP, something Mr Kutuny, former political adviser of the President, said they had agreed to change as part of their rebranding roadmap.
The ruling party’s slogan is ‘Tuko Pamoja’, which means “we are together”, and a symbol of handshake uniting Mr Kenyatta and Dr Ruto, is another aspect the party officials have agreed to change since the country’s second in command has decided to chart his own political path.
“We are considering rebranding the party —including the colours, slogan — to have an independent identity now that the URP wing has moved out,” said the Cherang’any MP, noting that they have given themselves until September this year to conclude their revamping journey.
With the ruling party’s officials being accused of making decisions without consulting with its members, Mr Kutuny disclosed that the party’s retreat is the most urgent one which will give members an opportunity to share their ideas on how to revitalise the party.
“The most urgent one is retreat with elected leaders because we want them to approve some of these issues. Some of these activities aimed at strengthening the party must be spearheaded by the elected leaders in their areas because the party actually belongs to these people,” he told the Nation.
According to Mr Kutuny, the retreat is set to take place in two weeks’ time and will only be open to those who are loyal to President Kenyatta, noting that anyone who associates with UDA remains their enemy.
“In two weeks’ time, we are going to have a retreat for all the governors, MPs and leadership of county assemblies. We will invite very local supporters of Jubilee. There are those who have moved out of the party and we are strengthening our party. We are treating anybody who has been associating with UDA as an enemy hence they do not qualify for this retreat,” he said.
This comes at the backdrop of Mr Tuju asking those allied to DP Ruto to resign from the party and join UDA instead of remaining in the ruling party which they claimed is on its knees.
“We have no option but to allow them to go if they think issues of corruption are fine. They think that politics of division and hatred is okay with them and they oppose any attempt that is set to bring this country together. Those who chest thump that they have numbers, do we really see those numbers? It is just their perception,” Mr Tuju sad last Wednesday while drumming up support for the Jubilee candidate in the upcoming Kiambaa by-election.
Top on the party’s agenda is to revive its countrywide offices, establish county coordinators as well as embark on a mass recruitment drive to add to its acclaimed 8.25 million members.
The party has also identified 25 counties in which they want to establish active offices which will help it with member registration among other activities aimed at giving those at the grassroots a say in the operations of the party, a similar strategy being used by UDA.
Rift Valley, Coast votes
The Jubilee Party is also planning to take the battle for political rejuvenation to Dr Ruto’s doorstep in a bold step that seeks to boost its strength in the vote-rich Rift Valley region and Mombasa ahead of the 2022 General Election.
“We are going to refurbish offices in 25 counties including Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and Mombasa which have been given prominence,” said Mr Kutuny.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said that in order for the Jubilee Party to reclaim its space in the country’s political space, there is need to establish what he termed as “party political wing” which he said has been lacking. He noted that the party has been held hostage by “bureaucrats”.
“Once we have that wing in place, we will see whether it will compliment or conflict with the bureaucrats, if it compliments, we are good to go. If it conflicts, then we will need to change the bureaucrats because ultimately, the party is about politicians in it, with bureaucrats as supporting infrastructure,” he explained.
Limuru MP Peter Mwathi said that Jubilee still has some elements of traitors who need to be weeded out before starting any coalition talks with any other party.
“As Jubilee, what we need to do first is to sort ourselves out. Clearly, there are elements who are in the party but they are somewhere else. Once we clean up and streamline our party, replace people who are in the party structures and are no longer believing in the party, then we can start looking for people whom we can form alliances with,” he said.
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