President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have defied their key financiers and disgruntled former Jubilee politicians now running as independents in their push for key numbers in Parliament.
But for the Jubilee duo, theirs will be a battle against a new political animal threatening to eat into their bastions and support ahead of the high-stakes August 8 election.
“Jubilee wants troops in Parliament and wants to avoid a situation where if re-elected, they have a bloc in Parliament that they do not directly control,” a party strategist said of the duo’s view of independent candidates.
On Saturday, President Kenyatta in his tour of Meru was forced to forego his support for Senator Kiraitu Murungi, who is taking on Governor Peter Munya of PNU, a party that supports his re-election.
On the same day, DP Ruto had to introduce independent candidate for the governor seat Kinoti Gatobu and Maendeleo Chap Chap’s Kilemi Mwiria.
This came just less than a week after the DP was shouted down in Elgeyo-Marakwet when he tried to support Governor Alex Tolgos’s bid over independent candidate Moses Changwony.
Last Thursday, the President, who called for the six-piece voting in Nyeri County, had to change tune after locals disagreed with him.
But President Kenyatta, a party strategy paper shows, has insisted that openly campaigning for the independents or friendly party candidates may present challenges in passing critical legislations in the bicameral House, or in counties.
On the flipside, the President needs the many candidates angling for his eye to seek as many votes as possible.
The duo are also faced with the dilemma that after promising foolproof nominations, Jubilee leadership does not want to be sucked into the irony of backing the very people the voters rejected.