President Uhuru Kenyatta is facing a defining moment as he tries to steady his Jubilee Party, kick out DP Ruto and end its vicious implosion and uncertain future.
On Thursday, the National Management Committee and the Parliamentary Caucus held a joint meeting at the Safari Park Hotel, endorsing Ruto’s expulsion from the party. He is deputy party leader.
After years of bare-knuckle infighting and bitter sibling rivalry, the President has approved the party’s National Delegates Convention at the end of the month to revamp and stabilise the outfit.
The date has not been announced.
It would be at that meeting that Uhuru will be confronted by a moment of truth: He will decide whether to oversee the expulsion of his own deputy party leader William Ruto or hang on, hoping he will resign.
The President will also have to deal with the clamour from members to overhaul the secretariat — comprised of his political allies — who have executed his assignments to kick out Ruto’s allies from Parliament and the party with military precision.
When the President takes to the podium later this month, he will have to put up a spirited case to defend his decision to work with ODM leader Raila Odinga. He will have to defend his decision that Jubilee will not field a presidential candidate next year.
It would be at this platform — the summit of the party’s highest decision-making organ — that Uhuru will seek the approval of the delegates to formalise a pre-2022 coalition pact between Jubilee and ODM.
There are indications Raila would attend the Jubilee NDC to witness the affirmation of a deal that would seal the ruling party’s support of his 2022 candidature.
The Star has established preparations for the NDC are in top gear as officials race against time to assemble delegates.
The last time the Jubilee NDC convened was in September 2016 when they unveiled the JP outfit after 11 parties folded up and merged.
The Jubilee National Management Committee — a lean team of select Uhuru allies —on Thursday held a crucial meeting with the Parliamentary Caucus to agree on preparations and the agenda for the convention.
The quasi-National Executive Committee is drafting the agenda for the meeting ,including building consensus on the list of delegates as well as crafting the proposed party structure.
“As Kenyans will agree, if you have one hand that is gangrenous with rancid infection of corruption and malice, you really have no choice but to amputate it. Mathew 5:30, quoted b Caucus
On Thursday, the caucus which is comprised of elected MPs and senators, set the tempo for the NDC after it announced they had approved the ejection of Ruto from the party — both as a member and second-in-command.
This means that the removal of Ruto will be in the agenda of the NDC after the joint NMC and Parliamentary Caucus approved it on Thursday at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
“In the same breath, we are happy to announce that Jubilee has cleaned house at local and national levels and shaken off most of the bad elements who have been undermining the party, including, unfortunately, none other than deputy party leader William Ruto,” the caucus said in a statement.
They added: “As Kenyans will agree, if you have one hand that is gangrenous with rancid infection of corruption and malice, you really have no choice but to amputate it,” they said, quoting Matthew 5:30.
The upcoming NDC would be the first time in five years that the President will be meeting party delegates in a high-stakes summit that analysts say can either unlock a promising future or spell doom.
The party constitution provides that the NDC shall comprise all members of the National Governing Council (elected MPs and senators as well as governors), all county whips, all county party majority/ minority Leaders and all county delegates.
Others are seven representatives from each constituency, namely, the chairperson, secretary, treasurer, organising secretary, women’s league chairperson, Youth League chairperson and persons with disabilities chairperson.
This means that at least 2,500 delegates from across the country will converge in Nairobi.
The acrimonious falling out between the President and Ruto has put the four-year-old party in a precarious position with an image crisis that threats its future.
Critically, the President, who will chair the NDC as the Jubilee Party leader, has come under a barrage of political attacks from Ruto who has accused him of overseeing obliteration of the party.
Hours before the Jubilee meeting on Thursday, Ruto claimed his planned removal from the Jubilee Party would be inconsequential because he has already moved on with his United Democratic Alliance outfit.
“These people (Jubilee officials) destroyed our party, they wasted a lot of our energy until now. We have decided to shop for the wheelbarrow (meaning UDA party) to push these Kenyans because they troubled us with their arrogance and intimidation. These people are useless,” Ruto said.
Speaking in the President’s Kiambu backyard on Wednesday, Ruto insisted that the planned NDC is a waste of time to try to salvage “nothing”.
“You killed our party and people left it because you sold it to the riddleman (Raila). It is ridiculous that now you are calling a meeting and selling that which is left of Juilee to him”, he said.
He went on, “Does it mean that we eight million Kenyans who voted for Jubilee cannot support anyone of us and now want someone on hire? Useless.”
Jubilee Constitution provides as long as Ruto remains the deputy president, he automatically assumes the role of the party’s second in command. Plans to amend this provision.
Even as Ruto’s future in Jubilee appears sealed, the NDC must ratify any decision to eject him. It has emerged there is a push to amend the Jubilee constitution yo remove a provision that makes the deputy president the automatic deputy party leader.
The President will sit through this radical amendment at the NDC that would technically kick out Ruto from the helm of the ruling party and diminish the powers of his successor.
This is even though the Jubilee Constitution provides that as long as Ruto remains the deputy president, he automatically assumes the role of the party’s second in command.
“The President of the Republic of Kenya shall be the Party Leader and the Deputy President shall be the Deputy Party Leader,” Article 33 (2) of the Jubilee Constitution reads.
The NDC will also approve the removal of Ruto’s Jubilee Party membership for violating the Constitution as provided for in Article 5(C).
Besides, the President faces a delicate balancing act ahead of the ANC as some MPs are pushing for the removal of some of his most trusted confidants from the helm of the ruling party.
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