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Ruto attack: Uhuru defends Tuju

Wednesday July 17 2019

Jubilee Party

Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga enjoy a church service at St Peters ACK Nyamira Parish in Bondo, Siaya County, on January 20, 2019 to mark Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s 25th anniversary. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JUSTUS OCHIENG'
By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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RUSHDIE OUDIA
By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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State House Tuesday defended Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju following a public bashing from Deputy President William Ruto and his allies over his alleged links with the Opposition.

The DP’s cronies threatened disciplinary action against the Cabinet Secretary.

PRIVATE FUNCTION

Mr Ruto took to Twitter on Sunday and questioned Mr Tuju’s new role “in the Opposition”, two days after the CS attended a meeting with ODM leaders in Rarieda constituency.

“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.

However, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena told the Nation Tuesday that Mr Tuju’s Rarieda meeting was official and it was sanctioned by the President. “The meeting in Rarieda was a government function and Mr Tuju was there in his capacity as the presidential representative,” said Ms Dena.

She went on: “The Cabinet Secretary had an official speech of the President and, therefore, it was not a private function but a development event by the government.”

Mr Tuju also confirmed that he read the Head of State’s speech as a government official. “It was indeed an official trip. On our arrival, we were received by the local administration and Permanent Secretary in the State department of Youth,” he said.

On Thursday last week, Mr Tuju, Siaya Senator James Orengo, MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) and Jubilee secretariat official Steve Mwanga flew to Rarieda in one chopper to tour various development projects, sparking controversy in Jubilee.

Jubilee Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali, speaking from New York in the US, questioned Mr Tuju’s attendance of the function, saying it was in bad taste for him to officiate projects implemented by leaders of an opposing party.

“Their motive was obvious. We know the kind of politics they are playing,” Mr Washiali told Nation.

WESTON CASE

He further questioned the intentions of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in appointing James Orengo and Amollo Otiende as its lead lawyers in a matter on Mr Ruto’s Weston Hotel land case. KCAA moved to court seeking to repossess the land on which Weston Hotel sits after the National Land Commission declared it public land.

“My worry is that justice is likely to be compromised,” added Mr Washiali.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa termed the involvement of Mr Orengo and Dr Amollo in the matter a “warfare”.

“It’s a political warfare sponsored by the owners of the stop Ruto movement,” said Mr Ichung’wa.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said: “We will ensure we subject Tuju to disciplinary action.”

But speaking to Nation, Mr Orengo, said Mr Tuju’s relationship with the Opposition should not be misconstrued as there was nothing sinister, especially after the handshake.

“He cannot undermine his party leader who already offered an olive branch to my leader. There is currently no wall between us,” said Mr Orengo.

Dr Amollo wondered why their renewed friendship with Mr Tuju was a cause for alarm. “Anybody attacking Tuju, is directly targeting Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta,” said Dr Amollo.

Dr Amollo and Mr Orengo maintained they will continue representing KCAA in the civil case pitting the authority against the Weston Hotel.

Speaking to Nation, Dr Amollo maintained they were instructed as lawyers to take up the case and not as politicians.