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Jubilee leaders trade barbs on graft war

Sunday April 7 2019

Two Jubilee Party rival groups pitched tent in central Kenya on Sunday, giving contradicting opinions on the state of the ruling party.

MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto maintained that there is no rift in the government.

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki and the pro-Ruto brigade attended a service at Africa Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa, Mukurwe-ini Gatanga Constituency, Murang’a County, where they said Jubilee is intact and uniting the country.

POLITICAL WAR

The anti-Ruto group was in Nyeri Town where it painted a grim picture of the state of affairs in the party.

The Ngunjiri Wambugu-led “Kieleweke” movement declared a political war on its “Tanga Tanga” rival.

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The MPs from Jubilee and the opposition accused the DP and his allies of frustrating the war against corruption.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny said the war on corruption does not target any individual or community.

“Every time we talk about corruption, they tremble. Now they are trying to frustrate the President and the institutions leading the fight because they know where they stand,” he said.

DIVISION

The other leaders accused team Tanga Tanga members of betraying the party and their constituents “by supporting a person whose integrity is questionable”.

In Gatanga, Prof Kindiki called on Jubilee leaders talking about division to cease, adding, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are one.

He urged leaders to shun the war of words over the war on corruption, [since] the President’s stand is well known.

“Some people are going around the country associating the Deputy President with corruption. They should not assume the role of the investigator, prosecutor and judge. We will not allow people to destroy the reputation of individuals who have the potential of leading this nation,” he said.

The group revived the International Criminal Court matter, arguing that the opposition is on a mission to portray Mr Ruto a corrupt leader in order to bar him from gunning for the presidency.

INSEPARABLE

Mr Murkomen said Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are inseparable, having worked together for years and would do so again in 2022.

“In 2013, Ruto did not give any condition to supporting Mr Kenyatta. He joined him and walked with him consolidating votes. In 2022, we shall ask Kenyans to vote for Ruto without conditions,” the Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator said.

He accused Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga of creating divisions in Jubilee “yet he has not put his house in order judging by his loss in the Ugenya and Embakasi South by-elections”.

Maragua MP Mary Waithira said central Kenya would back Mr Ruto in 2022. She added that the opposition must respect the boundaries of Jubilee.

“When a visitor comes to your house, he is shown where to sit. A visitor does not dictate the affairs of the house,” she said.

Though Mr Nduati Ngugi is the MP for Gatanga, his Kandara counterpart, Ms Alice Wahome, led the Tanga Tanga squad and moderated the meeting. Mr Ngugi is seen as a supporter of the anti-Ruto camp.

In Nyeri, the Kieleweke group said it is on the President’s side, with Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni Wa Muchomba accusing the team in Nyeri of abandoning Mr Kenyatta.

“The people frustrating the President are the same people you elected on Jubilee tickets. Instead of standing with the President in the war against corruption, they roam around politicking,” she said.

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said central Kenya does not owe Mr Ruto anything.

At the same time, the leaders gave the DPP and the DCI a week to arrest top government officials mentioned in corruption scandals.