NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – The Jubilee Party on Wednesday said it will not take part in the Machakos and Matungu and Kabuchai parliamentary by-elections, declaring its support for opposition parties led by Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi.
The ruling party said the decision taken to foster existing cooperation with its partners under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitution review process.
Secretary General Raphael Tuju said the decision was arrived at following consultations between the party’s National Management Committee (NMC) and parliamentary leadership.
“We are currently enjoying a period of constructive engagement with the Wiper, ODM and ANC and other parties especially in the Building Bridges Initiative as is obvious for Kenyans to see,” he told news reporters at the party headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi.
Tuju emphasized that the party’s decision not to field candidates in the mini-polls will go a long way in strengthening the ties it currently enjoys with the National Super Alliance (NASA) affiliate parties.
“It is the decision of the Jubilee Party that given the bigger picture of bringing this country together and the BBI avenue, ceding ground the NASA parties in this instance is essential to ensuring that we do not open unnecessary arenas for conflict with our very able partners in the BBI,” he said.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has set March 18 as the date for the Machakos senatorial by-election while the by-elections for Matungu and Kabuchai National Assembly seats will take place on March 4.
As for the Nairobi Gubernatorial by-election, Tuju noted that the party was “on stand-by mode as the matter plays out in the High Court and at the Nairobi Assembly”.
Former Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru is poised to be the party’s flag bearer in the by-election that was occasioned by the ouster of former Governor Mike Sonko. The electoral body has set February 18, 2021 as the date for the mini-poll.
Jubilee Party has in the meantime fielded candidates for the ward by-elections in Hell’s Gate Ward (Virginia Wamaitha Gicanga), London Ward (Francis Njoroge Njogu) and Huruma Ward (Lucy Ng’endo Njoroge).
Following the March 9, 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga, the two parties have failed to field candidates in by-elections that are in either turfs.
The move however has been highly criticized by Deputy President William Ruto who is also Jubilee Party’s Deputy Leader who has said it erodes party democracy.
Jubilee decision to back down from the recently held Msambweni parliamentary by-election despite having called for applications was seen as a move to deny Ruto a chance to back a candidate through the party.
DP Ruto went ahead to back Feisal Bader, an independent, who went on to clinch the seat in a perceived ODM tuff.
Ruto’s allied have renamed a Jubilee Coalition member party to United Democratic Alliance (UDA), through which the Deputy President is expected to sponsor candidates for subsequent elections.
The DP has already declared his support for Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, UDA’s candidate for Nairobi governorship.