Amid reports that President Uhuru Kenyatta has blocked the removal of Deputy President William Ruto as Jubilee party deputy leader, the ruling party’s Vice Chairman David Murathe says the second in command’s ouster is still on course.
Murathe claims that plans to strip of the DP the party role were put on hold to allow for the mourning of late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli who passed on last Wednesday.
“We have put everything on ice in honour of Magufuli and out of respect for our partnership with Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). Everything is on hold until we finish mourning Magufuli,” said Murathe.
It had been reported that Ruto, who has been accused of sabotaging and disrespecting his boss, Uhuru, would be kicked out this week.
The proposal to eject the DP was made by the National Management Committee (NMC), the second most powerful organ with sweeping powers.
The President was expected to convene a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to seal the DP’s fate just like many of his allies in Parliament who lost their positions for allegedly disrespecting the Head of State.
However, last-minute intervention by the President, sources in the know claim, forced NMC to rescind its earlier resolutions.
NMC met yesterday and reviewed its agenda for the NEC meeting expected to be hosted today by the President.
“The President flatly rejected the proposal as was recommended by the NMC. That is why the NMC is meeting to reconsider its recommendation,” a senior Jubilee official told a local media.
Some of the President’s men were opposed to the rushed decision to remove the DP despite the growing rift in the ruling party.
Ruto’s removal could have faced legal challenges as the ruling party’s Constitution stipulates that as long as he is the deputy president, he automatically assumes the role of the party second in command.
“The President of the Republic of Kenya shall be the Party Leader and the Deputy President shall be the Deputy Party Leader,” reads Article 33(2) of the Constitution.
They argued that the DP should be impeached first before he can be stripped of his role.
The President’s allies also argued that the ouster would give the DP political mileage to play a victim card ahead of the 2022 presidential polls.
Murathe has, however, maintained that the DP is not off the hook yet as NEC stands with its decision to have Ruto fired as the deputy party leader.
“We are waiting for further instructions on when a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting should be held because it is for the council to ratify, modify or reject. NMC has recommended he goes home.”
According to the Vice-Chairman, Ruto’s ouster as the deputy party leader has nothing to do with his position as the deputy president.
Ruto has been accused of sponsoring the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) that challenged Jubilee in recent by-elections.
UDA rebranded from the Party of Development and Reform (PDR) which is currently in a coalition with the governing Jubilee Party.