It emerged on Sunday, May 10, that the Jubilee Party had entered into a post-election coalition agreement with the Kenya African National Union (KANU), deposited at the Registrar of Political Parties on May 4.
In addition to allowing KANU members to sit in committees bolstering Jubilee Party's strength in Parliament, they will also be able to attend Jubilee Parliamentary Group meetings, such as the Senate PG meeting scheduled for Monday, May 11, at State House, Nairobi.
Multiple reports indicated that President Uhuru Kenyatta was expected to use the meeting to crack the whip on Senators allied to Deputy President William Ruto; among them Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Majority Whip Susan Kihika.
It was claimed that Uhuru would seek to oust Murkomen and Kihika, with KANU leader Gideon Moi, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio touted as likely replacements for the plum Senate leadership positions.Elgeyo Marakwet Kipchumba Murkomen sanitizing his hands before entering the Senate on March 31, 2020.
Communication leaked to reporters alleged that allies of Ruto were under instructions not to attend the meeting which could deal a blow to his 2022 presidential ambitions. It was noted, however, that they were still considering attending if only to voice their discontent over the running of the party
Questioned by Kenyans.co.ke on Sunday, May 10 on whether he would be present at the meeting, Murkomen stated: "Let's wait for tomorrow (Monday, May 11).
Kenyans.co.ke on Monday, May 11, reached out to renowned political analysts Mark Bichachi and Martin Andati to get their thoughts on the machinations and what they meant for the Jubilee administration.
Bichachi opined that whether or not the Ruto allies attended the meeting depended on their objectives. He explained that if they failed to attend, they would be deliberately escalating the battle between factions allied to Ruto and Uhuru.
"I think it depends on what they want to achieve. If they want to keep their issues within Jubilee, then they will attend. But if they want an all-out war, they will skip this meeting and take the cold war between Uhuru and Ruto to a new level.
"It doesn't matter what the agenda of the meeting is about, whether it's to oust Murkomen or not. Here is an invite from the President, snubbing the meeting will be a problem," he noted.
Bichachi went on to state that the coalition agreement between KANU and Jubilee presented a serious challenge for Ruto's 2022 presidential ambitions.
He further observed that, by bringing KANU leader Gideon Moi into the fold, the number of recognised leaders Ruto could team up with for a coalition was dwindling.
He maintained that Ruto's Rift Valley backyard and part of the Mt. Kenya region would not be enough to win him the election without the backing of other leaders.
"Ruto and Tanga Tanga should be very worried, because Gideon Moi has now entered his bedroom. Raila (Odinga - ODM leader) had already entered the bedroom, so now it is a very crowded place.
"Every leader that Uhuru does a handshake with is one less leader that Ruto can form a coalition with. Ruto has indeed made inroads in Central Kenya. But has he made inroads at the Coast? What about in Western? or in Kisii? In the Central region, will the people even come out to vote if they don't have a candidate?
"The narrative by Tanga Tanga is very loud but shallow. They say Gideon cannot displace Ruto as the Rift Valley kingpin, but if you are Gideon Moi you are not worried about becoming a regional kingpin, you are more concerned with getting the support of the rest of the country and at least 30% of the Rift Valley," he asserted.
Andati, on the other hand, claimed that Ruto surrounded himself with sycophants and his woes in Jubilee could be traced back to his advisors.
He observed that Ruto's allies could find themselves in a difficult position if the changes to the Senate leadership were approved in their absence.
This, he noted, is due to the fact that 20 legislators are required to pass the resolutions at such a PG Meeting. With 3 KANU Senators present, Andati observed that Uhuru only needed 17 Jubilee Senators to push the changes through.
"Ruto does not take advice from anyone and he is surrounded by sycophants who tell him what he wants to hear. That is the origin of this problem.
"If they don't attend and Uhuru marshalls the numbers, they will be in trouble. Now that KANU is in the fold with 3 Senators, he only needs 17 Jubilee Senators to push through the changes. And of course Nominated Senators cannot afford to skip it because their nominations can be revoked,
"The same numbers that were marshaled when Waititu was impeached will be marshaled to push through any changes," he stated.
He further predicted that the purge of leaders allied to Ruto would move on to the National Assembly and, later, the Cabinet with Uhuru reportedly planning to unveil a government of national unity alongside Gideon Moi and Raila Odinga.
He argued that Ruto's foes were determined to continue weakening him politically, in a bid to deflate his ambitions of ascending to the highest office in the land.
"They were preparing the agreement because without it the KANU members would not be able to attend the PG meeting at State House. Without it they would have been unable to attend. It is now no longer the Jubilee Party, it is the Jubilee Coalition which is an important point to note.
"Ruto is getting weakened by the day. They've started with the Majority Leader which is a very influential position in Parliament. Majority Leaders are practically on the same level with Cabinet Secretaries even in terms of perks. They will remove Murkomen and put him on the catering committee, which is what they do to demean people.
"Next, they will move on to the National Assembly where the likes of whip Benjamin Washiali will be in trouble, before moving on to the Cabinet and paving the way for a Government of National Unity," Andati stated.
Watch a video on the alleged plot to snub the meeting below:
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