President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee has taken on Deputy President William Ruto-backed United Democratic Alliance (UDA), with a plot to terminate a pre-election agreement with the rebranded party.
Jubilee has insisted it signed a pre-election pact with Party for Development and Reforms (PDR), which rebranded to UDA, and is therefore considered a new entity.
And if it goes ahead and severs ties with UDA, MPs allied to Ruto who are openly associating with the new party, citing the coalition agreement, would be exposed legally.
According to the Political Parties Act, a party member who promotes the affairs of another outfit risks disciplinary action, punishment the President’s camp would not hesitate to initiate against rebels as the relations with his deputy continue to deteriorate.
“It is dishonest to say we are in the same coalition (with UDA). It is a hostile coalition. It is hostile in Parliament. It cannot be allowed to continue,” Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju recently submitted to the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal where he defended the party’s decision to expel nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura for his association with UDA.
But Dr Ruto has dismissed such claims, insisting that UDA’s agreement with Jubilee is still valid.
“UDA and Jubilee are one. We have a coalition agreement and we have been working together. If they break Jubilee, trying to make it a tribal party, we will build UDA as the national party we had hoped Jubilee will be,” Dr Ruto said last month.
And last Thursday, the DP cautioned Jubilee has itself to blame for what he said will be an avalanche of defections to UDA. “In the event Jubilee is not available, we will have a plan B. UDA is the next best option as it is already working with Jubilee. It will become an option if Jubilee does not stop this expulsion spree.”
The DP’s allies, too, insist they have done nothing wrong in associating with an affiliate of Jubilee.
“As far as I am concerned, I am still a Jubilee member. I may not agree with what Jubilee is doing, but I am a member. I have no apologies to make for associating with UDA. I am a firm believer that you cannot stop anyone from associating with anybody,” Meru senator Mithika Linturi said yesterday.
The ruling party, however, argues that it was disingenuous for the Ruto team to be in both parties at the same time, and that they should resign to seek a fresh mandate in the new UDA party.
A Northern Kenya based party, PDR, now UDA, worked with Jubilee at a time President Kenyatta preferred such working relationships to shore up his support in regions where Jubilee was not the most preferred party.
UDA now has five elected leaders in Parliament led by Senate Deputy Majority Leader Fatuma Dullo, who is also the Isiolo senator, as well as Wajir Woman Rep Fatuma Gedi, Tarbaj’s Ahmed Bashane, Mark Lomunokol of Kacheliba and Ijara’s Sophia Abdi.
The Nation has learnt that the DP instructed his allies during a meeting at his Karen home recently to help the UDA leadership in constituting the party coordinators from the constituency to county level ahead of the party’s June 18 grassroots polls.
South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro and his Keiyo South counterpart Daniel Rono confirmed to the Nation that they were told to ensure that the party has interim officials ready to register members.
“We were restructuring our political moves by endeavouring to expand our networks from the grassroots level,” said Mr Osoro.
“Leaders agreed to consult further and constitute party coordinators in their areas so that we can soldier on and minimise unnecessary fights. Having the officials will help us register as many members as possible to outsmart Jubilee party,” Mr Rono added.
UDA has proposed a power-sharing model in its top party leadership structures.
In a draft UDA constitution seen by the Nation, the outfit proposes to have three deputy party leaders, three deputy chairpersons, three deputy secretaries-general, three deputy national treasurers, and three deputy national organising secretaries.