Deputy President William Ruto has been shoved into a tight corner as President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to shower his new political partners with government rewards.
The defiant move by DP Ruto to open a parallel Jubilee office, named Jubilee Asili and to openly host party rebels, the Star understands, has infuriated the President.
Ruto’s establishment of a splinter group of the ruling coalition is likely to set the tone for Monday’s meeting, which most of the DP’s allies have vowed to snub.
“I will not attend. Why should I attend a meeting where you will be insulted?” asked Belgut MP Nelson Koech.
Much of the agenda at KICC will be replacing 16 of Ruto’s allies who were kicked out of leadership positions from the National Assembly.
Uhuru could award some slots to new suitors, including Wiper and CCM, which signed cooperation agreements with Jubilee on Thursday.
The push to kick out Majority leader Aden Duale could also come up, although none of the Jubilee leadership would confirm this.
Duale has zealously and successfully pushed through the government agenda in Parliament and Uhuru has been reluctant to remove him.
Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe, when contacted Sunday, told the Star, “The agenda will be about sanitising.”
It was immediately not clear if Ruto will attend, with his allies questioning the agenda and calling the event a virtual lion’s den.
During a similar PG on June 2, Ruto watched helplessly as Uhuru kicked out his allies.
Sources said the President will use the meeting to tell off those planning to ditch the ruling coalition.
The Jubilee Asili Centre is on Makindu Road, off Riara Road, in Nairobi. It was unveiled last Thursday.
On Sunday, Ruto’s allies said a legitimate PG they could recognise would be attended only by Jubilee Party members and not a meeting including other parties.
Jubilee Party deputy secretary general Caleb Kositany, Ruto’s de facto spokesperson on party matters, explained why some allies will skip the meeting.
“We do not know the agenda. What is this thing call the Jubilee coalition? The one I know is Jubilee Party,” he said, adding there was no common position to snub the President’s PG
He said the meeting was hurriedly convened without giving members enough time to be available or setting a straightforward agenda in advance.
“The invite was sent on Saturday night and already some of us were upcountry with plans running to Monday,” he said.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the meeting had ulterior motives since the agenda was opaque.
“I will not attend, I’m not available. How do you attend a meeting where you will be lectured to with no opportunity to talk?” he asked the Star.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Chama Cha Mashinani boss Isaac Rutto, whose parties last week inked a cooperation agreement with the Jubilee coalition, will see their allies rewarded with committee slots.
Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, whose party signed a coalition agreement with Jubilee Party, will also see his allies benefit.
The President faces a delicate balancing act to please the three parties while ensuring Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s party is not deprived of key committees.
Speculation was rife on Sunday Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo (ODM) could head the Justice and Legal Affairs committee in anticipation of the Building Bridges Initiative report.
“Everyone is angling for the spoils as a result of the falling out in the Executive. The President will have a big task to balance the expectations,” analyst Felix Odhiambo said.
A Cabinet shake-up is expected to bring Ruto’s adversaries into the inner circle, further isolating him.
The entry of the three parties – Kanu, Wiper and CCM – is calculated to parry any threats by Ruto’s defiant allies.
However, former Nyayo-era State House comptroller Franklin Bett told the Star Ruto’s open defiance is dangerous and amounts to an open declaration of war against his boss.
“You may need to be careful when confronting a man in power. It’s not easy to fight the state two years to a general election and win,” Bett said.
He warned the no-holds-barred war has the potential to “degenerate into tribal skirmishes” if political temperatures continue to rise.
“The war will play out very badly. My only worry is it can degenerate into tribal skirmishes,” he said.
Last Thursday Ruto unveiled a parallel command centre for Jubilee MPs allied to his Tangatanga faction, leaving no doubt of revolt against his boss.
Adopting ‘Sote Pamoja’ as his new slogan instead of Jubilee’s ‘Tuko Pamoja’ signalled Ruto’s push for options outside the President’s ambit.
Jubilee Asili borrows heavily from the Jubilee Party but has replaced the red colour in the Jubilee emblem with black and yellow. These colours were associated with the DP’s defunct URP.
Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru) lost their plum positions of Majority leader and Majority Whip last month.
Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, another key Ruto ally, was axed as Senate deputy speaker in a grand housecleaning by the President to firm up his control of the House.