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Deputy President Ruto gets his divorce to escape the Jubilee party's awkward marriage

Major revamp of the ruling party likely after President's former ally readies his campaign

The eight-year marriage of convenience between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto will end this month when the Jubilee party holds its National Delegates Convention (AC Vol 61 No 6, The fight for Jubilee). Its aim is to restructure its leadership and membership – that's code for pushing out Ruto for daring to stand for the presidency in next year's elections.

'We are in the process of a major, carefully planned, and unprecedented revamp that will send a message to our detractors,' the Jubilee Parliamentary Caucus said.

Ruto and his allies who have set up and fielded candidates under the banner of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) will be expelled from Jubilee. What remains of Jubilee will then ratify a coalition deal between Jubilee and Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement.

The freezing out of Ruto started with the 'handshake' between Kenyatta and Odinga; those two veterans were opponents in the 2012 and 2017 presidential elections.

As soon as it became clear that Kenyatta would not endorse his deputy to succeed him in 2022, Ruto's exit from Jubilee became probable (AC Vol 62 No 5, Jubilee tent gets smaller).

This is likely to herald the first phase of alliance-building ahead of the elections.

Ruto has made it clear that the UDA will be the vehicle for his 'hustler nation' presidential campaign ahead of next August's elections. Jubilee has no ideological base and may collapse if senior politicians defect to the UDA.

The question haunting election calculations is whether the Jubilee that remains will retain the resources, infrastructure and base of Kikuyu supporters to give Odinga the broad coalition he needs to win next August.

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