Op-Ed: Jubilee, Kanu formalise coalition as internal battles rage in Kenya

By Louw Nel – Political Analyst

Divisions within the ruling Jubilee Party have seemingly given way to an all-out battle for control with the realignment of the party and the purging of senior officials.

A coalition deal has been formalised between Jubilee and the once-powerful Kenya African National Union (Kanu) – they notified the Registrar of Political Parties, Anne Nderitu, on May 4.

An agreement was entered into prior to the 2017 elections but was never formalised.

However, several senior Jubilee members have lodged a dispute with the registrar, saying that Secretary General Raphael Tuju and acting Chairperson Nelson Dzuya do not have the authority to engage Jubilee, as the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) never passed a resolution on the matter. The Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) is expected to consider the matter on Thursday, May 21.

Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta has seemingly set about purging Jubilee of members aligned to his deputy, William Ruto: both Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Majority Whip Susan Kihika were removed on May 11. Mr Murkomen and Ms Kihika have both been outspoken public critics of the president.

In addition, five nominated senators aligned to Mr Ruto’s so-called Tangatanga faction appeared before a party disciplinary committee on Wednesday, May 20, over their failure to attend the parliamentary group meeting at State House on May 11.

According to reports, several chairs of senate committees are also expected to be replaced imminently and a Cabinet reshuffle is under discussion as Mr Kenyatta’s Kieleweke faction seizes the initiative.

More background to the development is Mr Kenyatta’s rapprochement with Raila Odinga, leader of the main opposition, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Messrs Kenyatta and Odinga have joined forces in promoting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), with Mr Odinga championing calls for a referendum on the BBI’s final recommendations.

Mr Ruto’s attitude to the BBI has oscillated between ambivalence and hostility, notably to its recommended creation of a prime minister position.

It is increasingly clear that the relationship between Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto has broken down irretrievably, and that the battle over Jubilee is set to grow acrimonious as opposition to the latter’s 2022 succession bid grows.

Many shots have been fired in recent months, including calls by Jubilee and opposition MPs for Mr Ruto to resign on March 11 and Mr Ruto’s social media tirade against the “fraudulent changes” to Jubilee’s NEC by “political rejects, conmen & fraudsters” in early April.

The coalition agreement between Jubilee and Kanu is certain to antagonise Mr Ruto, as his adversarial relationship with Kanu leader and fellow Kalenjin, Gideon Moi, is well documented.

The possibility of the ODM or the Wiper Democratic Movement – Kenya (WDM – K) entering into coalition talks with Jubilee-Kanu cannot be dismissed, especially as Wiper leader, Kalonzo Musyoka, stated on May 11 that his party was exploring the possibility despite being a member of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) alongside the ODM.

The dissolution/reconstitution of Jubilee does not necessarily portend political instability in Kenya, as parties are generally viewed as election vehicles rather than institutions in their own right.

Indeed, political development and democratic consolidation in the country are held back by the absence of durable political parties that are based on principles rather than ethnic ‘big men’ or election strategies.

Recent developments seem to suggest that this isn’t about to change.

Related Content

Tanzania’s Magufuli reshuffles cabinet, here’s a look at who stays and who goes

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Tanzanian President John Magufuli has reshuffled his cabinet and will swear in three new ministers on Monday, his office said, in...

February in South Africa – A month of love, and daggers

Khaya Buthelezi | FleishmanHillard There is something deep and profound about the month of February in South Africa. Former President FW De Klerk announced the...

This is what unfolded in the 12 days since

12 days that shook South Africa

How this multi-billion dollar overseas wealth manager is viewing SA’s #Cabinetreshuffle

How this multi-billion dollar overseas wealth manager is viewing SA’s #Cabinetreshuffle

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

AfrAsia Bank CEO on COVID-19 & its impact on Mauritian economy

Mauritius has been praised for its efforts in curing the spread of Covid-19 in the country, but is not immune to the economic havoc that the pandemic has brought the global economy. The country held its national budget speech yesterday and joining CNBC Africa to unpack more on this and the business opportunities that will arise Post-Covid-19 is Sanjiv Bhasin, CEO of AfrAsia Bank.

AxiCorp’s outlook for global oil markets

Brent crude prices have risen by 14 per cent this week and continued to rise in morning trade, eagerly waiting for the expected OPEC+ meeting that will take place tomorrow. The meeting will see the world’s major oil producers discuss extended production cuts. Stephen Innes, Global Chief Markets Strategist at AxiCorp joins CNBC Africa for more.

Rosette Muhoza on the environmental opportunity created by COVID-19

Despite the effects of COVID-19, the environment has been one of the few things that benefited from the pandemic. CNBC Africa spoke to Rosette Muhoza, Co-founder of My Green Home Rwanda to talk about how this pandemic has affected their company and how to sustain a clean environment.

Partner Content

DURBAN TOURISM LAUNCHES “VIRTUAL DURBAN EXCURSIONS”

FROM THE MAYOR’S DESK Halfway through the month of May, we had fruitful engagements...

Sanlam Emerging Markets and its partners on the African continent invest over $12 million to fight COVID-19

As we go through this global pandemic together, it is the little things we miss. A high five, a handshake, a walk...

Trending Now

Op-Ed: Supporting the ICT sector in Africa as a cure for the economic crisis

“We need to think, and fast, about how we can help our African partner in the race against time as it faces the predicted economic disaster in the wake of the global covid-19 pandemic,” writes Franc Bogovic and Engin Eroglu.

African Development Bank board stands by embattled President Adesina

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) board on Thursday said it stood by an internal investigation that had cleared its president of improper conduct, but it would carry out an independent review of the report in the interest of due process.

NAICOM extends insurance recapitalisation deadline to September 2021

Nigeria's insurance regulator NAICOM has extended the deadline for the recapitalisation of insurance companies to September 2021. The recapitalisation process has also been segmented into two phases. Tajudeen Ibrahim, vice-President and Head of Research at Chapel Hill Denham joins CNBC Africa for more.

BlackRock on Covid-19 markets & economic damage

Global investment management group BlackRock believes that the best market cure for the impact of Covid-19 is inclusive and coordinated fiscal and monetary policy response. Joining CNBC Africa to unpack more on this and their 2020 investment themes is Karim Chedid, Investment Strategist at BlackRock.
- Advertisement -