President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has disowned smaller parties that have been poaching its members, promising a bruising battle in the August polls.
The small parties have consistently said they will back President Kenyatta’s re-election in August but will compete with the ruling party for other seats.
Meru Governor Peter Munya’s Party of National Unity (PNU), Maendeleo Chap Chap of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, 2013 presidential candidate Martha Karua’s Narc Kenya, and the Democratic Party have all poached Jubilee aspirants, while insisting they would not field a presidential candidate.
Kanu, led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, is on Thursday expected to make a similar announcement. But on Wednesday, Jubilee Party secretariat head Raphael Tuju dismissed these parties, saying JP would go it alone in August 2017.
“We have not entered into any memorandum of agreement with any party. We will throw in our candidates for every seat,” Mr Tuju said at the party headquarters in Nairobi.
The party said it was not worried with defections to smaller parties, saying those leaders were afraid they would be defeated by their opponents.
Those who have moved to Dr Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap include Meru governor aspirant Kilemi Mwiria and Embu governor aspirant, Senator Lenny Kivuti.
Last week, the Tharaka Nithi governor took several aspirants to Ms Karua’s Narc Kenya Party.
Both PNU and Kanu have also received their fair share of defectors.
“We are not in Jubilee or Nasa. We are in the people’s hearts,” Dr Mutua said when he received Mr Kivuti. He added: “But we support President Kenyatta because he is a man we feel will understand our development agenda.”
This happened as Jubilee commenced membership recruitment that had been stopped by President Kenyatta to focus on voter registration. “Those aspirants that have not collected the Sh20 Jubilee smart cards, let them now come. We are open from today,” said Mr Tuju.
The party also approved its National Elections Board, which Mr Tuju said would be unveiled once the names are presented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Mr Tuju insisted that Jubilee wanted IEBC to conduct its nominations, saying: “We want to have credible polls”.
He said the fees the party released on Wednesday — Sh500,000 for governor, Sh250,000 for MP, senator and women representative, and Sh50,000 for MCAs — would be used for other logistics