President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved to end factional fighting in his Jubilee party by ordering top officials to convene a meeting of MPs and Senators on Friday this week.
Sources reported that Uhuru directed Deputy President William Ruto, who is the deputy Party Leader, and Secretary General Raphael Tuju to use the occasion to end the factional wars.
Speaking yesterday at ACK St Thomas Church in Kerugoya, Kirinyaga county, Ruto kept off the subject but asked leaders to rally behind Uhuru.
“We must continue to support the President as he works on the transformation of the country and the unity of the nation,” Ruto said.
The DP was accompanied by MPs Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Faith Gitau (Nyandarua County) and Wangui Ngirichi (Kirinyaga).
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu told the Star that the success of Friday’s meeting would depend on what happens between now and then.
“If some people go around chest-thumping, saying that they are the ones who are engineering peace, then there will be no truce,” Wambugu said.
He, however, expressed optimism that the meeting will unite the party.
“I am hoping the meeting will enable the party to have a common stand on certain national issues. I also hope the issue of respecting the President will be discussed and a position taken on what happens to those who do not abide,” he said.
The MP said he expects the first agenda to decide on the Chair. “We will need to have a Chair who will not lean on one side, someone accepted by the majority.”
The ongoing BBI forums, including the proposals to create regional governments, expand the Executive and implementation of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission report are among issues that might be discussed.
MPs contacted for comment declined to talk about the meeting but indicated that they were eagerly waiting for the forum.
“Let me not comment on the meeting because I am not sure what the agenda will be and also because it has been a long time since we last met as a party,” said a lawmaker who did not want to be named.
Tuju, in a statement to newsrooms, said the forum will be a “Jubilee members Parliamentary meeting” and not a Parliamentary Group meeting. Tuju said he called the meeting after holding discussions with the President.
“The consultative meeting will not be a Parliamentary Group meeting because it will not be chaired by the party leader,” Tuju said.
He did not say who will lead the meeting although Ruto is expected to take charge.
Jubilee MPs have continuously expressed concerns about Uhuru’s failure to convene the party’s parliamentary group meeting since his re-election in 2017.
Ruto has even attempted to coax Uhuru into summoning a PG but the party leader has ignored the calls.
Members are required to attend the meeting on Friday at the Kenya School of Government, starting at 8.30 am.
“It had been anticipated that this meeting would take place today February 7, in time before Parliament resumes next week. The postponement has been necessitated by the need to put aside all our activities as a sign of respect following the passing on of His Excellency the former President, Daniel T. Arap Moi,” Tuju noted.
He said the meeting will be an occasion to have a discourse with members and to give an update on various issues of interest and concern in the party.
Jubilee has faced turbulent times, with its leaders allied to Uhuru and those close to Ruto pulling in different directions.
The party is split into Tanga tanga and Kieleweke factions composed of legislators allied to Ruto and Uhuru respectively.