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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,22ND MARCH,2021-President Uhuru Kenyatta could have blocked the spirited move by his allies to kick out Deputy President William Ruto as the Jubilee deputy party leader.
The details of the President’s surprise move emerged as the National Management Committee-the second most powerful organ with sweeping powers-convenes today to review their decision.
The NMC is expected to rescind its earlier decision to have Ruto ejected as the deputy party leader of the ruling Jubilee party.
Just like the President folded his TNA party, Ruto had also alongside nine other parties sacrificed his URP outfit ahead of their reelection in 2017.
The NMC had last week announced that it had recommended for the removal of Ruto as the party’s second in command awaiting ratification by the National Executive Committee this week.
However, the NMC is today expected to drop Ruto’s ouster from its proposed agenda for the NEC meeting following the President’s intervention.
“The President flatly rejected the proposal as was recommended by the NMC. That is why the NMC is meeting to reconsider its recommendation,” said a senior Jubilee official who sought anonymity.
There are reports that the President was not keen on Ruto being stripped of his powers as the Jubilee second in command, handing the DP a political lifeline in the ruling party although he has technically walked out.
The DP’s removal could have also faced legal challenges as the Jubilee Constitution provides that as long as he is the deputy president, he automatically assumes the role of the party second in command.
“The President of the Republic of Kenya shall be the Party Leader and the Deputy President shall be the Deputy Party Leader,” reads Article 33(2) of the Constitution.
The DP’s allies in the Tangatanga movement are popularising the United Democratic Alliance party seen as his fall back outfit if he is formerly kicked out of Jubilee ahead of the 2022 polls.
Last week, the Star exclusively reported that the President was to chair a virtual NEC meeting tomorrow to adopt the NMC recommendations to oust Ruto from the helm of the party.
However, there were reports that some of the President’s close men were opposed to the timing of the ouster as a strategy to tame Ruto as that would give him political mileage to play a victim card.
In an interview with the Standard, Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju had confirmed today’s NMC crucial meeting but could not reveal the agenda.
“We have a National Management Committee meeting tomorrow, but I can neither confirm nor deny if that (Ruto’s removal) would be on the agenda. I cannot talk of an agenda before it is adopted by the meeting,” said Tuju.
But Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe was clear that the NMC meeting today will deliberate on the recommendation by NMC to fire Ruto as the deputy party leader.
“Jubilee NMC will meet tomorrow at 11 am to recap recommendations of ejection of the deputy party leader as we await convening of NEC by the party leader who can equally delegate to the party chairman,” Murathe told the Standard.