Split in Embu Jubilee Party leadership have started to emerge after senior politicians ganged against County Speaker poking holes into his integrity to lead the party’s activities.
In a rare show of unity, the politicians — both incumbent and aspirants — addressed a joint press briefing at Izaak Walton Inn on Wednesday where they tore into Speaker Kariuki Mate after reports emerged that he had been appointed to a top party position.
The Speaker, however, has denied being appointed to any senior party position explaining that he had only volunteered to mobilise residents to register as voters in the ongoing mass listing exercise.
Governor Martin Wambora, Senator Lenny Kivuti, Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi, Mbeere North MP Charles Njagagua and former Minister Njeru Ndwiga said they feared the appointment of Mr Mate as director of Operations would disadvantage his opponents during nominations.
They said there is a likelihood of favouritism since Mr Mate had publicly announced his support for Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire who is seeking to unseat Mr Wambora.
“This is totally unacceptable to Embu leaders and communities as Mr Mate is also a campaign manager of one of the gubernatorial candidates, and therefore, the appointment is tearing the party apart. It contradicts the President’s statement that there is no favoured candidates,” said Mr Ndwiga.
Mr Wambora said they had tried to reach President Uhuru Kenyatta but he was unavailable and appealed to him to address their concerns.
He said the voters’ mobilisation exercise could be jeopardised if residents and the aspirants learnt that there are predetermined candidates who would receive Jubilee Party tickets.
“We don’t believe that our party leader is aware of it. In Embu County, we have very seasoned professional, people of integrity who can fit very competently,” he said.
Mr Kivuti claimed that a meeting held on January 14, and attended by Mr Mate had agreed on how Jubilee tickets would be shared.
The leaders however said they would stay put in Jubilee Party and would be vigilant to ensure the party nominations and elections are free and fair.
“We are not running away from our party, we are the owners. You can’t find a snake in your house and then you run away,” said Mr Ndwiga.
Mr Mate, in a statement said: “I do not hold any such position at JP, neither have I been appointed to any position at JP Headquarters Secretariat. I have however volunteered to help in voter mobilisation in the country for Jubilee, and in doing this, I need no affirmation from aspirants in Embu.”