Parliamentarians from across the political divide on Tuesday criticised Deputy President William Ruto and his backers, mostly MPs from central Kenya, for “disrespecting” the President.
This came as the war between the Kieleweke and Tangatanga teams in Jubilee seemed to be headed to Parliament after the former vowed to cut to size perceived rebels in the party.
Eight lawmakers from Jubilee, ODM and Wiper parties, under a new banner dubbed Team Kenya, said Mr Ruto and his backers must unconditionally respect the President as the national leader and the region’s kingpin.
The MPs, who spoke at a cultural competition in Kiambu Town, told off Central Kenya leaders, who have been claiming that the Head of State has lost grip of the region. They said the President’s influence will continue to shape the region’s political future.
They were woman representatives Gathoni wa Muchomba (Kiambu), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Pamela Odhiambo (Migori), Joyce Kamene (Machakos) and MPs Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Ruth Mwaniki (Kigumo), Robert Mbui (Kathiani) and Antony Oluoch (Mathare).
The leaders spoke a day after some MPs were quoted faulting the President for accusing them of disrespect.
The Team Kenya squad dismissed calls by a section of Jubilee MPs, mostly DP Ruto allies, to have a parliamentary meeting convened to iron out differences. They said doing so was akin to sitting with the Opposition since Tangatanga was on a mission to fight the President.
Ms Muchomba said Mr Kenyatta will still advise on the region’s political direction in 2022 and that those undermining him were ‘lost sheep’.
“Leaders from Western region have their leader, Ukambani people have their leader, in Nyanza as well as in Rift Valley there are leaders, what about central Kenya? Don’t we have our leader who is Uhuru?” she asked.
Ms Wanga said that after the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s handshake last year, the Opposition was behind the President “in full throttle”.
Separately, Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny vowed that Kieleweke will push to reorganise parliamentary committees to “ensure we have a team committed to pushing the President’s agenda both in Parliament and outside”.
He said the Tangatanga team had undermined the President for long. “They’ve been looking down upon him as a lame duck and who cannot stand on his own”.
Mr Kutuny, who spoke Tuesday, said some of leaders were using the privileges from parliamentary committees to undermine efforts by the President.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale downplayed the differences in the Jubilee Party, noting that “in Parliament, Jubilee has one large family whether they are chairs, vice-chairs or members of a committee”.