A close ally of Deputy President William Ruto has confirmed that all is not well in President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party.
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen says the rifts have been caused by clique of “individuals serving within government at the Office of the President”.
“We have a concern about the existence of a small wing of individuals serving within government at the Office of the President, government ministries who are spending most of their time to plant discord in the Jubilee Party,” Mr Murkomen told Citizen TV on Sunday night.
The Elgeyo Marakwet senator claimed those fighting Mr Ruto were out to curtail his 2022 presidential ambition, and cause a fallout between him and the president.
“If the president and deputy president do not sit down together and say the direction that these things are taking is not useful to Jubilee as a party, the government, Kenya as a nation and in the legacy of the president; if they do not face those issues fairly and squarely and bring those persons within government into account, such small cracks will cause a bigger problem,” he said.
And although he assured that there are no personal differences between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, the outspoken senator said there were people who were saying that the president has achieved what he wanted and now he does not need anybody, including Mr Ruto.
“These same people are influencing direction of… the government… with only a single agenda… separating the president and his deputy,” he claimed.
Mr Kenyatta’s directive for lifestyle audit on all public servants in the on the ongoing corruption purge, Mr Murkomen says, has made matters worse.
In fact, the order caught Mr Ruto off-guard, he says.
“Unfortunately, because those people (who he alleges are fighting the DP) have responsibility over the policy of the government, we have situations where things like lifestyle audit are now in place without the knowledge of anybody who is governing in Jubilee,” he said.
“The lifestyle audit is about 2022 elections, it is a principal called kicking-the-ladder symptom as there are people who want to ascend to those positions of power and they want to curtail other people."
He claimed the scrutiny on civil servants’ wealth is targeting Mr Kenyatta's deputy, the self-declared son of a peasant.
“Has it ever occurred to you that Raila Odinga who is a hundred times richer than William Ruto, no one asks for his lifestyle audit?” he said.
“Because of succession politics, those people have been assembling there and saying we want to stop him from moving…”.
He said it was Mr Ruto’s detractors at Mr Kenyatta's office who leaked information about the lifestyle audit to Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.
“In the very way Governor Mutua spoke about lifestyle audit and directly to the deputy president and why the lifestyle audit has something about stopping the deputy president, we have discovered after research that truly there are people from the Office of the President who gave that information to governor Mutua and they are working together,” he claimed.
“Unfortunately, Governor Mutua was too impatient so, he went announcing it early.”
He said the president’s lifestyle audit declaration is not backed by law.
“It was a declaration by Governor Mutua, picked by the president a few days later. Then Mutua making that statement directly to the deputy president,” he said.
“Then the DP, while in Mombasa, said that he is ready for the lifestyle audit, then the story just died. I honestly believe that declaration was not meant for the goodwill of the people of Kenya, but was meant to focus on the deputy president.”
Mr Murkomen’s assertions hint that Mr Ruto’s camp has not warmed up to the idea of a lifestyle audit.
“What is lifestyle audit? As has said by who? In what legal framework? To be approved by who? To be done by who?” he said.
He said that the directive is not anchored in the law.
“Without understandable legal procedures it is bound for abuse,” he said.
“For policy and governance positions to be undertaken by the country, the Constitution says, must be put in writing. As a management practice, we either have a Cabinet paper, a legal or a policy position or some legal framework to implement it…”.
In a country that is so divided politically, he said, lifestyle audit, can be used by politicians to dim their rivals’ ambitions.