Deputy President William Ruto’s allies have laughed off a move by Jubilee’s top organ to remove him as deputy party leader saying he moved on long time ago.
The DP’s confidants claimed that he is no longer in the ruling party following what they termed an aggressive onslaught that pushed him to the periphery within the Jubilee rank and file.
They, however, dared President Uhuru Kenyatta to convene the National Executive Committee to ratify the decision by the National Management Committee to recommend Ruto’s removal.
The NMC, a high-ranking Jubilee organ with sweeping powers to act on behalf of the NEC, said on Monday that it had resolved to kick out Ruto as the party’s second in command.
There are concerns within Ruto’s camp that the same NMC and acting on NEC’s behalf might go ahead to seal the DP’s fate as the Jubilee deputy party leader without necessarily having a whole NEC meeting.
However, the Jubilee constitution requires such a major decision be ratified by NEC, which is chaired by the President as the party leader.
The DP’s allies insisted that the Jubilee officials, whom they said are in office on an interim basis after their mandate allegedly expired, cannot purport to kick out their seniors from office.
“Let the President convene the NEC, which he has never convened so that the issue can be deliberated there. It will also be an opportunity for us to ask why elections of the party have not been held,” said Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.
According to the former National Assembly Majority Whip, they are not surprised with the move to axe Ruto as it has been long coming.
“What they have done gives a rough idea of what would be the leadership of this country were it not for the 2010 Constitution,” he said.
However, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, a key Ruto ally, came out strongly on the matter saying the DP ‘s political future is not in the Jubilee Party as he had already moved on.
“We moved from Jubilee long time ago, our party now is UDA. Let them do whatever they want but that cannot take away any iota of the DP’s support,” he said.
“It is like trying to fire a former minister when he long time ago left the position. We left the Jubilee bones to Tuju (Raphael) and Murathe (David), we moved away with the flesh.”
The NMC made the decision to kick him out following a move by his allies to associate themselves with the United Democratic Alliance party, an affiliate of Jubilee.
Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju said the NMC had made its recommendations to the NEC which will have the final decision on Ruto’s fate.
“The NMC discussed the matter and resolved to remove the DP as per the party constitution. The matter is active, we have the recommendations of NMC and now only waiting for the party leader to convene a NEC meeting to deliberate on the matter,” Tuju said.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said kicking out the DP from his position was inconsequential.
“Who cares? Jubilee is a shell. We are focused on building the hustler nation and the forthcoming General Election. Anything else is a distraction and a sideshow,” said Gachagua.
The NEC has not been convened since 2017, although Ruto’s key allies who held plum leadership positions have been purged over disloyalty in what handed Uhuru full control of the Jubilee party organs.
They include MP Adan Duale (Garissa Township), Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet) and his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika, former Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki, MPs Ben Washiali (Mumias East) and Cecily Mbarire (nominated).
By virtue of the positions they held in Parliament, the DP’s allies were automatic members of NMC and NEC.
Their removal left the DP with no hold of the Jubilee party organs.
The DP’s relationship with the President has sunk to rock bottom in the last one year over the 2022 succession war as well as the Building Bridges Initiative campaigns to amend the Constitution
The fallout between Uhuru and Ruto got nasty last month when the former dared his deputy to quit government if he was dissatisfied.
“If you are praising it (government) stay in, if you are dissatisfied, get out,” said Uhuru who argued that one cannot be selective by discrediting the government and on the other hand seek to take credit for its successes.
Ruto has openly proclaimed support for activities by UDA and even supported UDA candidates in recent by-elections in a clear indication that he has abandoned Jubilee.
He has, however, never publicly denounced the Jubilee Party on whose ticket he was jointly elected with Uhuru.
The DP’s allies have argued that UDA, which was previously the Party for Development and Reforms, is in a coalition agreement with Jubilee and therefore their association with it is within the law.