As former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party prepares for a crucial National Delegates Convention in Nairobi today, the echoes of factional discord threaten to reshape the upper echelons of the party. The party leadership, still under Kenyatta’s command, braces for conflict as Sabina Chege, the nominated MP, and her allies challenge the legitimacy of the gathering.
Kenyatta anticipates an internal reckoning, potentially ousting dissenting elements within the party during this significant event, to be graced by distinguished leaders from the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, including Raila Odinga. His aim is to reassert his influence within the party amidst aggressive campaigns spearheaded by Chege and East Africa Legislative Assembly MP, Kanini Kega.
Chege and Kega have rallied a cohort of Jubilee MPs in a daring bid to unseat Kenyatta from his position as party leader, alongside Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni, Vice-Chairman David Murathe, and Treasurer Kagwe Gichohi. These rebels have pronounced Chege as the new party leader and Kega as the new Secretary-General.
Despite the looming upheaval, yesterday Kioni was adamant that the convention at the Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi was proceeding as planned, aiming to reorganize the leadership structure.
Kioni reassured that the convention would not only address the crucial reshuffling of leadership roles but also serve as an occasion for party members to regroup, reassess, and chart a collective course for the party. Moreover, he emphasized the party’s commitment to the Azimio coalition and to addressing pressing issues that afflict Kenyans, such as the rising cost of living, a faltering economy, and the endangered state of multi-party democracy under the current Kenya Kwanza regime.
However, Kega and National Chairman Nelson Dzuya were quick to dispute the legality of the convention. They claimed that the convention, lacking the prerequisite approval from the party’s National Executive Council (NEC), was effectively null and void.
Expressing their defiance, Kega stated that regardless of the event’s proceedings, its legal impact would be null, adding to the case against Kenyatta. Similarly, Dzuya criticized Kenyatta’s calling of the convention, asserting that the party constitution vests this power with the Secretary-General.
Although a complaint has been submitted to the party’s dispute resolution committee, Kenyatta remains unnotified due to several complications. Dzuya hopes that the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties will assess the situation to determine whether due process was followed.
Nonetheless, Kioni defended Kenyatta’s involvement in the party’s affairs. He argued that despite the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, which discourages retired Heads of State from holding political office six months post-retirement, Kenyatta retains his constitutional rights.
The political scene has been further aggravated by opposition from President Ruto, who Raila Odinga, a notable political figure, has accused of undermining multi-party democracy by enticing opposition MPs to his side.
Odinga called for a cessation of interference with the Jubilee Party, a prerequisite for any bipartisan discussions. He demanded an assurance that the Jubilee Party’s convention would proceed unhindered.
In an unexpected turn, Chege and Kega were seen accompanying President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua at an interdenominational prayer service in Isiolo County, fuelling speculation and unease within the Jubilee Party.
A senior Jubilee official denounced their attendance as a ploy to further their “negative agenda,” insinuating Gachagua’s motivation to square off with the former president