Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday told off Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, questioning the cabinet secretary’s new role in the opposition circles.
The DP and his Tangatanga team have in the past couple of weeks called for Mr Tuju’s dismissal over claims of running down the party and failure to ensure a Parliamentary Group meeting is realised.
Mr Tuju is currently in the unique position of being close to President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga following the two leaders’ March 9, 2018 truce.
His close links to the ODM leader’s inner circle seems not to have gone down well with the DP who Sunday took to Twitter and questioned his new role “in the opposition.”
“So our democracy is so liberal that the SG of a ruling party has become the chief strategist of the opposition!! Maajabu (Wonders!!),” the DP wrote.
In response to Mr Ruto’s sentiments, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria asked him not to “attack the messenger.”
“Dear my good friend Deputy President William Ruto. Jubilee went into political bankruptcy on March 9, 2018. The nature and configuration of Kenya’s politics forced us into Article 11 bankruptcy. Raphael Tuju is only a receiver manager,” Mr Kuria wrote.
However, contacted, Mr Tuju refused to be drawn into a public spat with the DP, whom he termed as his boss saying: “It is … my position that I am committed to supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to unite the country through bold steps like the BBI, the handshake, the fight against corruption and the Big Four agenda.” But leaders affiliated to Kieleweke slammed the DP and his Tangatanga brigade for going public to express his concerns on Mr Tuju’s position in the ‘handshake’.
During prayers at the African Christian Churches and Schools in Kigumo Sub-County, the Kieleweke team led by Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri told the DP that every Jubilee Party member is duty-bound to use the internal structures to express their opinion on governance.
Mr Ngunjiri, who was accompanied by MPs Ruth Mwaniki (Kigumo), Kilemi Mwiria (Tigania West), Nduati Ngugi (Gatanga), Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Mercy Gakuya (Kasarani) and Gathoni Wamuchomba (Kiambu County), told off the DP for violating the party structure.
In Vihiga, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, an ally of Mr Ruto proposed that Mr Tuju be replaced as SG by former Kakamega Senator Dr Boni Khalwale, saying Mr Tuju was the “enemy within.” In Migori, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the alleged new roles by Mr Tuju in the opposition were “non-existent and were a creation of their opponents.”
Mr Sifuna who was accompanied by Migori senator Ochillo Ayacko, MPs Timothy Wanyonyi (Westland’s), Peter Masara (Suna West), Lilian Gogo (Rangwe), Anthony Oluoch (Mathare), Paul Abuor (Rongo), Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Busia woman Rep Florence Mutua were in Suna West for a fund-raiser at Oruba Catholic Church.
“We are currently in the process of restoring sanity in our party and the claims that are being propagated are ill-advised,” he said.
He added: “Tuju has never been Raila’s advisor and we are worried about this new scheme by a section of Jubilee leaders to divide ODM.”
Mr Tuju had narrated how President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga took the hard decision to reach a truce regardless of hard stance by some of their supporters in a bid to unite the country as talks on ‘succession’ gathered steam.
In an exclusive interview with Nation, he revealed how the two leaders were caught between a rock and a hard place by aspiring for unity while struggling to reign in their allies.
Mr Tuju said the country was experiencing the most difficult times and the two leaders had no option but to bite the bullet. He said that, as a result of the sacrifice, Jubilee and opposition leaders have no option but to work together to spearhead the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) established by the two leaders.
He stressed that the handshake was a matter close to both the President and Mr Odinga.
He revisited its origin, noting that calls for secession by the National Super Alliance (Nasa) brigade had severely threatened the unity of the country hence the urgent need for a truce.
“Before the handshake, several people were talking about secession. So you ask yourself, who would really want to become a President, a Cabinet Secretary or leader of a country where a significant population is agitating for secession?” he posed.
He pointed out that the country’s existence depends on addressing the issues of inclusion and making all Kenyans feel and believe they belong.
He cautioned against ethnic mobilisation, noting that it was dangerous for the country and urged for Kenyans to embrace the Building Bridges Initiative.
“Those against the BBI are doing a disservice to our social fabric. Who wants to rule a country that is disunited? How will the country progress?” he posed.
On the secession talk, he disclosed that it depicted the delicate path the country’s politics was headed to noting that the handshake was its only remedy. The break-away debate was ignited by one of Mr Odinga’s advisers, Mr David Ndii, just after the nullification of the presidential election by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Mr Odinga had said during the time that the proponents of the separatist agenda, had “a justified cause” due to what he termed as “successive ethnic discrimination” since independence.
In an interview with The Financial Times when he visited London in October 2017, Mr Odinga maintained that his desire was to see Kenya remain united.
He warned that a political crisis triggered by a disputed presidential poll and years of “ethnic discrimination” had stirred an unprecedented debate about secession.
The debate ended at the doorsteps of Harambee House on March 9, 2019 when Mr Odinga and the Head of State signed a memorandum of understanding that ended seven months of anxiety punctuated by injuries and killings by the police amid rising tensions.
In their nine-point agenda for the country’s unity, they addressed ethnic antagonism, lack of a national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections and security. Other issues were corruption, shared prosperity and responsibility.
Reports by Justus Ochieng’, Ndung’u Gachane, Ruth Mbula and Derrick Luvega.