Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany, who is also Deputy President William Ruto’s de facto spokesperson, yesterday accused top party officials of squandering funds. Mr Kositany alleged that officials at the party’s Pangani headquarters in Nairobi were spending over Sh7 million on tea and snacks per month.
In an interview with the Nation at his Eldoret home on Sunday, the Soy MP said the DP’s supporters want the Auditor-General to audit Jubilee Party’s financial books. He alleged that there is massive fraud going on, adding, they were carrying out their own investigation and would release the results. .
“All of us contribute Sh10,000 every month and we want to know how these funds are being used. Tuju and the team should publish for us their records in the local dailies. As deputy SG, I know I should be getting some allowance but someone might be earning it on my behalf. We want to know how we’re paying rent of Sh5 million per month and tea and snacks worth Sh7 million monthly,” Mr Kositany said.
He maintained that they want the identity of mysterious individuals whom the party pays Sh67 million as annual rent for the Jubilee headquarters revealed. He said they had been made to believe that the office space was a campaign gift.
The Auditor-General, in his 2016/2017 report, said that he was not provided with the registered lease agreements for the party offices, despite frequent requests. Jubilee has an annual rent bill of Sh98 million, of which Sh67 million is for the party headquarters, and the rest for office space in counties, the Auditor-General’s reports indicate.
Information obtained by the Nation recently indicated that Jubilee received revenues of Sh1.3 billion in the 2016/17 financial year, Sh240 million in 2017/18, and Sh338 million in 2018/19, meaning that the party has had an income of Sh1.878 billion since 2016.
The revenues are from members’ contributions and allocations from the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.
But the legislator claimed that the party has no offices at the grassroots, although it should, so they want Secretary-General Raphael Tuju to make it public how the funds have been spent.
“Anyone found to have embezzled the funds will carry his/her own cross. We want to know why we do not have offices across the country,” Mr Kositany said.
By the time of going to the press, both the party’s vice-chairman, Mr David Murathe, and Mr Tuju had not responded to our calls nor text messages.
According to the Mr Kositany, the DP’s camp has one shot to wrest control of the party from President Kenyatta before the 2022 general elections.
Mr Kositany said they are working on a scheme to hold the party’s grassroots elections, or else they will initiate the party’s dissolution.
The Soy MP said they are optimistic that, if grassroots elections are held, they will redeem their lost glory in the ruling party.
He claimed that they are aware of plans not to hold the elections due to fears that the current party officials, who are allied to President Kenyatta, will be kicked out.
“We know that they are not ready to have the party elections to face us because they know that the likes of Raphael Tuju will not be elected again. We will carry the day even in the President’s political bastion. If they fail to call party elections, the consequences will be obvious; it will mean dissolution of the party” he said.
“After removing the people perceived to be stumbling blocks in the National Executive Council (NEC), the next thing should be to have a roadmap for elections,” he added.
Mr Kositany, a strong defender of the DP, accused the President of interfering with the party’s organs to serve his personal agenda at the expense of the party’s growth.
“The removal of Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Aden Duale (Garissa Township) and Ben Washilia (Mumias East) had nothing to do with their performance. The President wanted ‘yes’ men in the NEC to champion his interests,” he said.
The MP said they want elections held immediately, adding, the Covid-19 pandemic should not be used to kill democracy in the party.
Meanwhile, Belgut MP Nelson Koech said they would leave the party only if it’s disbanded. They are aware of plans to push them out of the party even after the removal of the DP’s allies from key positions in both the Senate and National Assembly but they will not fall into the trap, he said.
“Yes, they have started a smear campaign of associating the DP’s faction with anything against the government with the aim of pushing us out of the party, which will not happen, but they should know that the day we decide to wind it up, it will affect everybody,” Mr Koech said on phone.
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono said they had opted to keep quiet since the playing field between the President and DP is not level, noting that a rift has emerged in their camp on the DP’s continued silence.
“Most of us feel that the President has state machinery, so the DP cannot face him like some of us are agitating for. Besides the DP respects President Kenyatta so he cannot behave in a way that suggests that he no longer respects his boss,” said Mr Rono on phone.
“We unanimously agreed to keep mum, including our leader, the DP, but we failed to agree on certain things, and that is why there is push and pull among ourselves as to whether DP should take the President head-on,” he added.
Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata Sunday told the Nation that the President is still popular, and that DP’s allies cannot wrest control of the party through elections they are calling for.
“The President is very popular in the country and among Jubilee Party members. If elections were to be held today, I can assure everyone that only his allies would win.
“Jubilee members have seen Uhuru’s efforts to revamp infrastructure, electricity projects and agriculture. They know the Jubilee Party is an important political vehicle that enabled Uhuru to achieve all these and would not want any disruptions,” he said.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the DP’s cronies chest-thumping that they had the numbers in the Senate and the National Assembly have been proved to be empty by what happened in the Senate.