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Uhuru hangs on to his Jubilee

Kenyatta's botched exit from politics has triggered new fissures in the opposition camp

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta had appeared intent on retiring from politics. Instead, he wants to stay on as leader of the rump Jubilee party following a chaotic week in which rival factions battled for control of the Jubilee party formed by Kenyatta and his former deputy, now president, William Ruto

Last week, the Ruto-allied faction which controls the party's national executive committee announced that key Kenyatta allies David Murathe and Jeremiah Kioni, the party's Vice Chair and Secretary General respectively, had been expelled from the party for 'gross misconduct'.

Meanwhile, the party's disciplinary board announced that National Treasurer Kagwe Gichohi had been suspended for two years for not following party instructions.

Days later on 22 May, a contested national delegates' conference voted to reinstate Kenyatta and to sack Kanini Kega, the acting Secretary General, as well as Sabina Chege, who was appointed as party leader last month to conform with legal requirements that former presidents cannot hold political office. A handful of other party officials in the Ruto-supporting faction were also dismissed.

Jubilee was routed by Ruto's United Democratic Alliance at last August's general elections, and many of its 29 MPs have since been co-opted into supporting the Kenya Kwanza coalition that backs Ruto in the National Assembly (AC Vol 63 No 17, How the hustlers toppled the dynasties). There is little appetite among MPs to maintain the politics of the pre-election 'handshake' between Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga (Dispatches, 10/1/23, How the opposition is trying to pick up the pieces).

Kenyatta shows little enthusiasm for staying on, commenting at the delegates conference that he had planned to 'leave politics and deal with other issues. I had hoped to relinquish my position at such an NDC, but some people have decided to issue threats and use force.' That looks like a reference to the raid in March by hired thugs on a farm owned by the Kenyatta family to which the Kenyatta's police detail turned a blind eye.



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