Kenya’s ruling party is a divided house

Saturday July 06 2019

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and Deputy President William Ruto addresses a rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi in 2017. Ruling Jubilee party appears to have two factions that are aligned to either President Kenyatta or deputy president. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG


Kenya’s ruling party appears to have cracked down the middle, creating factions that are aligned to either President Uhuru Kenyatta or Deputy President William Ruto .

President Kenyatta has on occasion criticised his deputy for his early campaign to succeed him at the expense of development.

It is with reference to Mr Ruto’s countrywide tours that the deputy president’s side has earned the nickname Tangatanga, which means moving around aimlessly.

Another group calling itself Kieleweke, which is allied to the president, has also launched a campaign against Mr Ruto’s bid for the top seat.

The president last week declined a request by Mr Ruto to convene a meeting to iron out the differences affecting the party.

On Tuesday, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said President Kenyatta is focused on development and not political rhetoric.


“The question of a Jubilee meeting is political. We are not going to delve into political issues,” said Ms Dena during a press briefing at State House Nairobi. “If at all the party calls for a meeting, well and good, then it will happen.”

This has thrown the party into confusion, with members saying time is running out to bring unity to the party.

President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto should ideally be working towards a common goal in fulfilling election pledges to the citizens according to their manifesto. But that’s not the case for Jubilee.

In fact, there have been allegations that some Cabinet Secretaries and top civil servants allied to the president were scheming to assassinate Mr Ruto.

But, in a twist, one of the DP’s aides was arraigned in court on Thursday over a letter traced to him claiming there was a nefarious plot against Mr Ruto.

President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto forged a strong political relationship in 2013, riding on their indictment at the International Criminal Court over allegations of crimes against humanity committed during 2007/8 post-election violence.