Jubilee MPs have resolved to put political and diplomatic pressure on the International Criminal Court to drop the case against Deputy President William Ruto.
The MPs said this Friday at the start of the Coalition’s second retreat since the General Election in March 2013.
However, the Coalition is at a crossroads regarding the recently-formed Jubilee Alliance Party. A majority of the MPs at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha said they were not consulted.
MPs from President Kenyatta’s TNA and Mr Ruto’s URP are undecided, with many saying they would wait and hear what their principals say before they decide on the next course of action.
The retreat started in the morning with the MPs in a combative mood. First, they made the organisers set aside the programme, saying their colleagues who felt closer to the principals — known informally as the Sky Team — called all the shots.
Some were angry at the way they were treated whenever they wanted to see Cabinet secretaries. Others said the President had not taken time to visit their constituencies as he did during the campaigns.
They were to meet President Kenyatta and Cabinet secretaries in the evening.
The President was expected to talk about the new party and give the MPs an opportunity to hear from Cabinet secretaries about the implementation of the Jubilee manifesto.
They forced the change to the programme when Imenti South MP Mithika Linturi was given the first chance to speak after majority leaders, whips and deputy speakers of the two Houses.
IN MPs BAD BOOKS
Mr Linturi has been in the MPs’ bad books because of his well-publicised but stillborn attempt last year to have Parliament censure Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.
Mr Linturi, who has drafted a Bill to make a sitting deputy president immune from prosecution, was shouted down when he began making his presentation.
That, however, does not mean the Bill will be dropped. National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said the proposed law would be sponsored by the coalition.
Said Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi: “We will continue mounting a campaign to have Ruto’s case terminated with the same intensity we did with Uhuru’s since the ICC is a political process.”
He was supported by Senate Majority Leader Kindiki Kithure. “If withdrawing from the ICC will make Kenya a banana republic, then we are willing to join other banana republics like the United States, India, China and Israel,” he said.
This pressure is also likely to come in the form of a Bill, sponsored by Bumula MP Boniface Otsiula, to have Kenya withdraw from the Rome Statute by repealing the International Crimes Act.
Although the passage of the Bills would not affect the case against Mr Ruto, they would be seen as an expression of displeasure towards the ICC.
The Coalition, however, appears divided over the Jubilee Alliance Party.
A majority of the MPs who spoke to the Nation on condition of anonymity said they felt ambushed by the conversion of Conservative Party to JAP, complete with TNA and URP symbols.
“I have said I can move but before I leave the house, I must be shown where the bedroom and the parking lot are,” Mr Murungi said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Laikipia Senator GG Kariuki and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto who was attending a different meeting at the hotel.
Moyale MP Roba Duba, who styles himself as United Democratic Forum’s Whip, said small parties in Jubilee felt they were getting a raw deal.
“In Parliament, committee chairmen are like ministers and we haven’t been given even one,” he said.
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, who was at the hotel in an unrelated meeting, was also sceptical about the new party.
“I’m meant to understand they are thinking of undoing the parties, which would be an abrogation of the original aim of setting up the coalition. What’s happening here is to rubberstamp what has been decided,” said Mr Ruto.