Jubilee Party to hold series of rallies ahead of March launch

Launch slated for March after a series of forums and national delegates’ conferences by parties in the coalition.

Saturday February 6 2016

Senator Kiraitu Murungi (right) and Imenti North MP Rahim Dawood at Batian Coffee House in Meru during its opening on February 5, 2016. Mt Kenya Arabica coffee was also launched. Jubilee Party plans to hold a series of meeting before its launch in March.  PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Senator Kiraitu Murungi (right) and Imenti North MP Rahim Dawood at Batian Coffee House in Meru during its opening on February 5, 2016. Mt Kenya Arabica coffee was also launched. Jubilee Party plans to hold a series of meeting before its launch in March. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PATRICK LANGAT
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The new Jubilee Party has planned 20 county meetings ahead of its launch in March as the 2017 elections inch closer.

The meetings will start in Nairobi on Monday, while Deputy President William Ruto will be in Meru on Saturday for a series of rallies to accompany the county awareness forums.

The ruling coalition wants to use the new party to seek President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election in 2017 and the election of Mr Ruto in 2022.

Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi, the JP steering committee chairman, said that the party’s train had left the station and nothing could stop it now.

“We have put the 47 counties into 20 clusters and we intend to go to all those places and sell Jubilee Party as the party of the future. We want to create a party that will unite the nation and JP is that,” Mr Murungi told the Saturday Nation.

The party, which was proposed during a meeting of Jubilee coalition affiliated parties at State House, Nairobi, on December 15, last year, will be a merger of Mr Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) and Mr Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) as well as other small parties in the alliance.

According to Mr Murungi, the meetings will culminate in a joint National Delegates’ Convention to ratify the launch.

“In March, we will have national delegates’ conferences of all the parties followed by one final and joint convention the same month,” the senator said.

THE WAY OF THE FUTURE

President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have fashioned the merger as the face of future politics, insisting that it was no longer tenable to have many small parties in the new political scene.

Their critics, led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, have, however accused them of being dictatorial, saying that nobody can force parties to join the merger.

Governor Ruto has since formed the Mashinani Development Party (MDP) and is fielding a candidate in the Nyangores Ward by-election on February 12, while supporting Kanu candidate Paul Sang in the March 7 Kericho senatorial seat by-election. Mr Aaron Cheruiyot, a 30-year-old, who trounced bigwigs such as  former MPs Franklin Bett and Magerer Lang’at to clinch the ticket, will battle it out with Mr Sang and two other candidates.

“I will continue fighting for equality and we will not allow anybody to try and scare us. Some people in government are just focused on the next elections and do not care what happens to Kenyans in between the elections,” said Mr Moi, on the URP largely-held view that the South Rift should not oppose DP Ruto because they are in government.

Similarly, Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta has gone to the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal, arguing that the merger will make President Kenyatta, his deputy and governors elected in their respective parties’ tickets to lose their seats. The case is yet to be decided.

Mr Murungi said the party was coming into shape and would be accepted countrywide.

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