Discomfort in the Kieleweke faction over the absence of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the consultative Jubilee meeting that was to happen on Friday played a major role in its cancellation, the Nation can reveal.
The faction that supports President Kenyatta felt that in the absence of the party leader, some decisions would have been forced down their throats.
Multiple sources who talked to the Saturday Nation expressed concern that the deputy party leader, Deputy President William Ruto, would have chaired the meeting, something they were not comfortable with.
A section of the Kieleweke faction then lobbied “the powers-that-be, leading to the cancellation of the meeting for the second time”.
The party is experiencing turmoil that has seen it break into two factions, Kieleweke and Tangatanga, with the latter supporting the DP.
When the meeting was announced, the agenda was not circulated, thus those opposed to the DP felt that was a trap for them to engage in a meeting whose agenda they did not set.
If the meeting would have taken place on Friday, it would have been the first one since the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.
The first letter released by Secretary-General Raphael Tuju indicated the party was set to hold what he termed “consultative meeting” with both members of the National Assembly and the Senate.
The aim of the meeting, according to the letter, was to give an update on various issues of interest and concern to the party.
The date was agreed upon between President Kenyatta and DP Ruto following a closed-door meeting.
However, it was cancelled following the demise of former President Daniel Moi and scheduled again for February 14.
However, three days later, the second date was cancelled as the country was preparing to bid farewell to Moi.
Senate Deputy Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata told the Nation that they will wait for the direction of the President over the matter.
“President Kenyatta is the party leader. Let us await for his direction. The country is still mourning. It was very good on the part of the secretary-general to hold the meeting in abeyance until further notice,” Mr Kang’ata said.
“I cannot comment further on the matter, I’m awaiting for the President’s signal,” Mr Kang’ata added.
Nominated MP and Kieleweke stalwart Maina Kamanda said the agenda of the meeting must include change of parliamentary leadership.
“You have seen the likes of Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen use their positions to go against the wishes of the President. We will have to discuss how they will be replaced,” he said.
Mr Kamanda said he would only attend a meeting chaired by President Kenyatta.
“If a meeting is not called by the President, I will not be party to it. And the agenda must include how to remove the likes of Murkomen,” he said.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega said the party will have a parliamentary group meeting soon and not a consultative meeting.
“We will have a proper PG chaired by the President, not a consultative meeting. Consultations can be held anywhere, including in bars. If anyone wants consultations, then we can do it even here in Parliament and we always do it all the time,” Mr Kega said.
Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany urged members to bear with the party’s leadership on the postponement, noting that “a lot of things were not prepared because people are still mourning” former President Moi.
“We shall communicate a new date to members. Currently, we will wait until people settle down for the meeting,” Mr Kositany said.
He did not, however, reveal the agenda for the planned meeting, only stating that “it’s just about housekeeping issues”.
However, Kipkelion West MP Hillary Koskei, an ally of the DP, downplayed the deep divisions, saying they were busy mourning Moi.
A source told the Nation that most of the Kieleweke MPs were not keen on the meeting.
“Among President Kenyatta’s loyalists in Parliament who were not keen on the meeting is Mr Kang’ata, who has been complaining of being sidelined by fellow parliamentary leaders who lean on the Tangatanga side, who include Mr Murkomen and Majority chief whip Susan Kihika,” said the source.