A serious disagreement has erupted between the ruling Jubilee coalition parties over alleged backstabbing and dishonesty by the president’s TNA party. Sources say a fierce behind-the-scene disagreement has arisen between higher level cadre of URP and TNA with accusations and counter accusations from both sides.
When Uhuru Kenyatta posted a facebook status update indicating that he had visited his research and media monitoring team at their new offices at KICC, Nairobi in the company of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the news came as a crushing thunderbolt to their coalition partners URP who had all along been making preparations to join their TNA partners and launch a joint Jubilee media monitoring centre at the 1st floor at Harambee House Annexe which houses the Office of the Deputy President and URP leader William Ruto.
Unlike previous occasions where the president has been seen with his deputy speaking glowingly of each other, this time around Uhuru when flanked with Blair was categorical and actually emphasized that this project was “his research and media monitoring centre”. TNA are whispered to have cut a deal with KANU’s Gideon Moi as a possible replacement of URP William Ruto. Furthermore, TNA have not hidden the fact that most of DP’s people are friendly and close to Raila Odinga’s ODM, meaning they will not be able to manipulate the vote tallying as they did in 2013 without the information being leaked to Raila’s side.
But TNA-URP fallout did not start there. It actually started with disagreements over state appointments which the two partners are supposed to share 50/50. A glance at gazette notices for public appointments gives TNA a lions share of 75% with remain 25% being left for URP and other interested coaltions like Amani. In 2014, the problem culminated with the unilateral sacking of URP’s Jasper Kiplimo Rugut as the National Youth Service Director, who was promptly replaced without consultation by TNA’s Dr Nelson Githinji. What angered URP legislators was that Rugut was reportedly sacked by SMS and the party was never given a chance to nominate his replacement.
Early this month, TNA ambushed URP by launching the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) without any prior consultation. In what is being deemed in URP as downright dishonesty and disrespect of the highest order, the launch of JAP was done while William Ruto was at the Hague attending ICC proceedings that has been weighing down on him. And unlike previous visits where Ruto was escorted by a retinue of Jubilee legislators and activists, Ruto has in his last court appearance cut a lonely figure seemingly abandoned by Jubilee MPs only accompanied by his wife in the cold sub-zero European winter as most Jubilee MPs elected to stay behind rather than escort him to the ICC.
The launch of Uhuru’s research and media monitoring centre at KICC therefore comes as part of a chain of events that has dominated public discourse in Kalenjin counties in Rift Valley with most feeling that the DP has been used, is being short-changed, and is about to be dumped with his ICC case. It would appear that the marriage of convenience between Uhuru and Ruto is over!
To add insult to injury, even when the crest fallen DP Ruto returned to Kenya and immediately organized an official visit to Kiambu County which is a TNA stronghold and Uhuru’s home county, majority of Jubilee legislators including the Kiambu governor openly snubbed the DP function not even bothering to send apologies.
At KICC, what is being called a research and media monitoring is a carefully disguised campaign secretariat complete with political analysts, public relations personnel, fundraising and budgeting specialists. Jubilee has seen their popularity and public approval plummet in recent months mostly due to unfulfilled pre-election pledges and corruption allegations. This has necessitated creation of a campaign secretariat manned by Tony Blair’s highly paid world-class professionals nearly two and a half years ahead of the next scheduled general elections.
In what is emerging as a classic case of use and dump, Uhuru Kenyatta’s handlers behind these moves have resigned to the fact Deputy President Ruto shall not be Uhuru Kenyatta running mate in the 2017 general elections. It is reminiscent of the NARC marriage in which saw Kibaki trash a pre-election MOU with Raila before he was sworn-in, eventually sacking Raila and his group mid-term following an embarrassing referendum defeat in 2005.
Political observers see the early preparations by TNA as giving ample time for a new running mate from either the Rift Valley or Western to be introduced and then moulded into sellable individual nationally by Uhuru’s highly paid PR team, and one who can eventually mobilize numbers behind Uhuru’s 2017 presidential bid.
Meanwhile, all eyes are cast on a proposed meeting in the next few weeks by the populous Kipsigis community at the famous Kapkatet grounds which has thrown both URP and TNA camps into panic that the community may be headed back to ODM. The community is reportedly intent on passing a declaration of reviewing its position in the Jubilee government.