Deputy President William Ruto’s vicious fight for the control of Jubilee Party from under the grip of his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, seems to be waning after a purge on his allies.
He is now devising new ways of dealing with the situation that is threatening to puncture his 2022 ambitions.
His scheme to register a splinter group dubbed Jubilee Asili also seems to have been muted after 30-year-old businessman Andrew Simiyu filed a request to reserve the name at the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties on June 24. Mr Simiyu’s application was, however, later rejected.
Mr Simiyu, about whom little is known, explained that he was only motivated to reserve the name because it was “catchy” but insisted he had no political interest.
With that strategy up in the air, the DP’s troops are now mulling a face-off with the President’s camp for the control of the Jubilee outfit.
Tangatanga insiders told The Saturday Nation that it was now clear the President’s faction would not cede any ground and allow them to take over the party for the 2022 election. They are also concerned that their attempt to decamp and form a new party will be detrimental to their push for the presidency, especially in the Mount Kenya region.
The State-sponsored Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2020, which seeks to reduce public funding of political parties, has now become an important cog in the DP camp’s strategy wheel.
Whereas ODM, ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya parties have faulted the move, President Kenyatta’s Jubilee said there was need for the country to exercise austerity due to the pandemic. However, DP Ruto’s allies have called for the abolishment of political parties altogether, arguing they have been turned into tools for “intimidation and blackmail”.
The DP’s men say they will be pushing for their total dissolution to allow Kenyans vote for individuals, arguing that parties were no longer true to their calling and virtually all of them had flouted the Political Parties Act 2011.
They say most parties are dysfunctional and a majority are yet to conduct elections, while squandering public cash allocated to them, hence have no reason to exist.
TOOLS OF INTIMIDATION
Jubilee deputy secretary-general Caleb Kositany, who is the de facto spokesperson of the DP’s camp, told the Saturday Nation that political parties had become tools of intimidation and blackmail, adding that this is the reason they are calling for their abolition.
“They have eroded our democratic gains and should be abolished and we allow Kenyans to vote for individuals,” Mr Kositany said.
He disclosed that it was no longer easy to examine how party funds are spent since “there is lack of audit returns despite the political vehicles being funded by the exchequer.
“We want details of the bank statements. Any payments that have been made to who and for what should be tabled so that Kenyans can make an informed decision on how their funds are utilised,” the Soy MP said, adding that the only way to save Kenyans from losing money and using such funds to cushion them is to disband the parties.
Belgut MP Nelson Koech and his Kimilili counterpart Didmus Barasa said this will end wastage of public coffers. Mr Koech pointed out that even if parties are not dissolved, the new Bill should be enacted and further clauses introduced to it to enhance accountability.
“I will definitely push for its enactment. In fact apart from that one of reduction, we intend to add clauses that ensure accountability for funds contributed by members,” Mr Koech said.
He added: “We pay Sh10,000 monthly. By the end of five years we will have paid Sh 600,000 but any attempt to ask for accountability on the same may even land you in jail. Our party (Jubilee) members deserve (to know) how their money is used,” Mr Koech said.
Mr Barasa said parties’ funding should be reduced “completely until that time when political parties will begin to be formed based on ideologies and with maturity of internal democracy.”
“Currently, parties are personal properties run like CBOs and, as such, they are not public entities to be funded by the public,” the Kimilili MP said.