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Kenya: Raphael Tuju mulls strategy to strengthen ruling party

Jubilee Party leaders have started an internal conversation on its state. Secretary-General Raphael Tuju has been meeting clusters of elected leaders from various counties for discussions centred on regional and national issues.

Multiple sources say members have tasked Mr Tuju with explaining Jubilee’s position on the referendum debate, the March 9 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, succession politics, party elections and local projects.

Mr Tuju confirmed the meetings Saturday and said more will take place. “These are routine meetings which are part of my work. We meet to seek ways to strengthen our party,” he said.

He has met people including majority leaders in counties where Jubilee holds sway, minority leaders who are members of jubilee or affiliated parties and members of county assembly (MCAs) from Nairobi, Nyeri, Muranga and Kiambu counties.

“I will also start meeting Members of Parliament and local party leaders,” he said. He noted that elected leaders are the party’s major stakeholders owing to the money they paid for nominations and aggressive campaigns for Jubilee in the run up to last years elections.

Mr Tuju said he gives the politicians chances to air their views on all matters. “We also deal with party discipline and development and I answer all questions and concerns to the best of my ability,” he said.

Nairobi’s Acting Speaker and Ngara MCA Chege Mwaura said that in the meeting on October 8 at Jubilee’s Ngara headquarters, they discussed issues ranging from the party constitution, assembly business, consultation and how to help President Kenyatta realise his administration’s ‘Big Four’ agenda.

He added that the meeting resolved to hold a retreat to educate members on dispute resolution mechanisms and organise consultations with top leaders at least once a year.

“We agreed on a retreat for members to understand the party’s dispute resolution mechanisms better and allow the assembly leadership to run its affairs freely,” said the acting speaker.

“This does not mean they have been interfering in any way.”

The MCA also said they agreed that top leaders be made aware of the de-whipping of MCAs and help push the larger national agenda at assembly level.

“There should be consultations on what is being done and the party position should be known. Let them know about matters such as strong motions in the House,” said Mr Mwaura.

The former majority chief whip added that there was talk of a party school to recruit members and ensure stability.

Nyeri Majority Leader James Kanyugo said their meeting discussed infighting among MCAs in Central.

Mr Kanyugo (Mahiga Ward) said Mr Tuju raised concerns about poor governance while citing battles in county assemblies. He said the official warned leaders against fuelling violence.

The wrangles have been occasioned by frequent changes in party leadership over control of allowances and resources.

“We agreed that they will allow assembly leadership to deal with matters arising without interference and that they should empower us to handle them,” he said.

The majority leaders further asked Mr Tuju to respect decisions that House leaders make, especially regarding de-whipping of errant members.

They were asked to drive the Big Four and support for Mr Kenyatta amid the taxes debate.

By Daily Nation

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