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William Ruto asks warring Jubilee factions to bury the hatchet

Saturday March 23 2019

Deputy President William Ruto in Mandera County on March 23, 2019.

Deputy President William Ruto during a fundraiser in Mandera County on March 23, 2019. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MANASE OTSIALO
By MANASE OTSIALO
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Deputy President William Ruto has on Saturday called for a truce between the two warring Jubilee Party factions, urging them to shun politics based on ethnicity and regions.

Mr Ruto, speaking in Mandera during a fundraiser, accused unnamed opposition figures of sowing discord in Jubilee Party. 

“Going forward, we believe the only way to have our country united is by dealing away with politics of hatred and tribe and having a national party that brings on board every Kenyan,” he said.

The DP also urged the opposition to bring to an end the culture of forming parties for political expediency. 

“We cannot unite a nation without ensuring that we eliminate politics of ethnicity and politics of broken parties,” he said.

INTERNAL WRANGLES

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Jubilee Party has recently been rocked by internal wrangles over succession politics and ongoing war on corruption. 

On succession politics, the storm was sparked by former Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe who opposed Mr Ruto’s bid for the presidency in 2022 General Election.

While Mr Murathe’s opinion received support from some quarters, it is the war on corruption that threatened to tear the party apart. Close allies of Mr Ruto have claimed the so-called anti-graft war has been engineered to stop his bid for the presidency. 

The latest indication that party wrangles are far from over came on Thursday night, when President Uhuru Kenyatta said no one will be spared in the anti-corruption war, whether that person is his brother, sister or his closest political ally.

A section of Kenyans interpreted the ‘closest political ally’ was directed at Mr Ruto and his close associates, who have previously protested the anti-graft drive has been targeting members of a particular community.

This is after investigations into the procurement of several dams in the Rift Valley roped in several Cabinet Secretaries with Treasury mandarin Henry Rotich among those grilled by detectives.

'DESTROYING JUBILEE'

But Mr Ruto claims enemies of development are out to tarnish Jubilee’s track record, accusing naysayers of peddling propaganda and using corruption to taint party image.

“Jubilee government has achieved in building roads, supplying electricity and improving education standards in the country,” he said.

Mr Ruto’s close associate, Garissa Town MP Aden Duale, speaking at the same fundraiser in Mandera said the northeastern region still supports the DP’s presidential ambitions. 

The National Assembly leader of majority urged the ruling duo not to allow destruction of the Jubilee Party, comparing it to South Africa’s African National Congress which has ruled since the country transitioned from apartheid to majority rule in 1994. 

“The President and his deputy called us in 2015 and told us that there was need to dissolve all tribal parties and have one party with a national face. We formed the Jubilee Party that this region voted for,” he said.

'HANDSHAKE'

Mr Duale claimed outside forces have been unleashed to destroy their party. 

“They destroyed Kanu leading to President Kenyatta’s defeat in 2002 and then Narc followed before they formed Cord that collapsed due to their political dishonesty. We know them,” he said.

Mr Duale claimed that President Kenyatta’s close relationship with Mr Raila Odinga will be the undoing of Jubilee. 

“As a region and as an individual, we have invested in this party which is like a company. We have seen the dividends and profits and I will not go down history as a majority leader who watched as Jubilee was being destroyed,” he said.

He added: “We not allow our party leader and his deputy to take us for a ride after asking us to dissolve our political parties then later bring in [someone] to destroy Jubilee.”