A mysterious 30-year-old businessman has quietly moved to reserve the name Jubilee Asili, upsetting a plot by allies of Deputy President William Ruto to use the name in the ongoing wrangles in the ruling coalition.
Mr Andrew Simiyu filed a request to reserve the name at the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties last Wednesday, a move that has momentarily sent Dr Ruto’s allies back to the drawing board.
“I am waiting for feedback from the registrar to know the fate of my application,” Mr Simiyu told the Nation Wednesday.
With scant information about him, Mr Simiyu explained that he was motivated to reserve the name because it was catchy. “I am not interested in politics. I am just a businessman engaged in clearing and forwarding. I was just excited by the name,” Mr Simiyu explained.
The mysterious businessman declined to provide more information about himself and to elaborate what he sought to gain from moving to reserve the name.
The move comes a few days after DP Ruto hosted de-whipped legislators at the Jubilee Asili Centre on Makindu Road in Nairobi’s Kilimani area.
The leaders, who met at the centre, which is still not open to the public as it is still under renovation, said they were forced to look for an alternative place to meet after they were denied access to the Jubilee Party headquarters on Murang’a Road.
Some of Dr Ruto’s supporters read mischief in the move to reserve the name, blaming it on the “deep state”, which they claim is working hard to frustrate the DP’s State House journey.
“What I know is that it is not possible to register such a name, according to the Political Parties Act,” Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who, alongside legislators Nixon Korir (National Assembly member for Lang’ata) and Susan Kihika(Senator, Nakuru County), are spearheading operations at the Jubilee Asili Centre, said.
The Nation also learnt that the DP’s allies had made a similar inquiry to the Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu, only to be told that it was not worth a try since it is illegal in law.
Ms Nderitu has said the application for registration of Jubilee Asili will be evaluated under the Political Parties Act, 2011.
Section 8 of the Act states that the registrar may refuse an application of a political party if the name of the political party, its abbreviation or the symbol “so nearly resembles the name or symbol, or an abbreviation of the name of another political party”.
“That section of the Political Parties Act gives the registrar the discretion to register Jubilee Asili as a political party or to refuse the application,” argues constitutional lawyer Omwanza Ombati.
Upon the return of multiparty democracy in the early 1990s, the office responsible for the registration of political parties reached a settlement to break the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford) into Ford Asili and Ford Kenya. In 1997, Ford Asili broke into two, Ford Asili and Ford People.
The confusion comes up as more political parties line up as possible vehicles for Dr Ruto in his bid for the presidency in 2022 if he fails to get the ticket for the Jubilee Party.
Yesterday, former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, whose sacking was blamed on his association with the DP, unveiled The Service Party (TSP). (See story below)
The Service Party is among the political outfits identified as possible vehicles for the DP.
“TSP is determined to pave a genuine path for those who are looking to become change makers in the interest of service to the people. We will be unequivocal about service delivery. We will be the voice of the people and TSP will show them how to approach politics differently,” Mr Kiunjuri said at the launch.
Friends of Dr Ruto also hinted the DP might use the Party of Reforms and Development (PDR), which is associated with the recently ousted National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale or the New Democrats, linked to former Marakwet West MP David Kiprono Sudi, among others.
In 2017, PDR moved its office to DP Ruto’s private office in the CBD in Nairobi. Dr Ruto used the ninth floor office at the TransNational Bank House along City Hall Way since 2007 when he was the MP for Eldoret North.
According to Mr Sudi, the DP has shown interest in using the New Democrats come 2022, noting the escalating tensions within the ruling party were unhealthy for Dr Ruto’s 2022 State House bid.
The Nation has learnt that the DP’s lieutenants are scheming to leave the party after the Parliament is dissolved, arguing that they are not ready to lose their seats at the moment.
According to Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, quitting the Jubilee Party now would mean that they go for by-elections, something he said they are not ready for.