The tension in the ruling Jubilee government is increasing by the day as reports now indicate President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking to overhaul party leadership in parliament just days after dropping Deputy President William Ruto’s ally Mwangi Kiunjuri in cabinet shakeup.
Reports indicate that the President wants to take control of the two houses by kicking out “rebels” allied to the DP.
Top on the list is Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen a fierce critic of the President’s handshake with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Sources privy to the developments intimated to the Star that the President is considering replacing the Elgeyo Marakwet senator with his Baringo counterpart Gideon Moi.
The son of retired President Daniel Arap Moi is the chairman of the Kenya African National Union (KANU). He supported the President’s re-election in 2017 but declined to dissolve KANU to join UhuRuto’s Jubilee.
The President is said to be considering an agreement with Gideon and house members before kicking out Murkomen.
Also targeted is Nakuru senator Susan Kihika, a member of the Jubilee’s Tanga Tanga faction allied to DP Ruto.
The vocal senator, who was recently locked out of the President’s function in Nakuru on Tuesday, is the Senate majority whip.
Besides the two, the President also wants to replace committees chairs who have not been supporting his political moves in government.
A source intimated that the purported changes are aimed at securing his legacy.
“The President is determined to effect changes in the leadership of the National Assembly, the Senate and House committees because some people entrusted with driving the government agenda are pursuing their own interests,” a source close to the President told the Star.
Yesterday, Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, the leader of Kieleweke group, opposed to DP Ruto’s 2022 presidential ambitions, seemed to confirm the reports.
Wambugu said the changes aimed at aligning the jubilee party leadership in the two houses to the President’s Big 4 Agenda, will be effected sometime in February this year.
“In 2020 the ‘President’s Men’ in Parliament will ensure that all these assets that are meant to work towards promoting & protecting the President’s agenda in Parliament are aligned with ALL his agenda. We will not allow those meant to promote & defend the President’s position to attack and undermine it, as happened in 2019, “he wrote on his official Facebook page.
“Any Jubilee MP who currently occupies a leadership position in either Senate or the National Assembly is therefore on notice. If you are not aligned with the President’s agenda; if you don’t agree with the fight against corruption or support the BBI; pack & leave that office, before February.”
He stated that nothing will change the President from punishing rebels just like he did to Kiunjuri.
“Kiunjuri left Cabinet. You will leave the nice carpeted office & join the rest of us as ordinary members of the house, ” he added.
Kiunjuri’s sacking didn’t come as a surprise to a section of Kenyans, who had predicted it owing to his relationship with the President.
The President had in several functions scolded Kiunjuri over irregular payments to Maize farmers.
In October last year, Kiunjuri joined a section of mount Kenya lawmakers to poke holes in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), a project that the President holds close to his heart. A the time, the President had warned CSs from politicking. To many, this sealed his fate in government.
Kiunjuri was replaced by Trade CS Peter Munya whose docket was taken by Betty Maina.
With the changes and recent frustration of the DP and his allies by the President’s men including Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, his PS Karanja Kibicho and handshake partner Raila, Ruto has become a stranger in government.
Political pundits claim the humiliation is aimed at forcing him to bow to pressure and resign.