Jubilee coalition forms steering committee to drive JAP agenda

Jubilee coalition forms steering committee to drive JAP agenda

The Jubilee coalition affiliate parties have until December to fold up and lead their members to the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP). The ruling coalition has set up a 30-member National Steering Committee led by Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi and former Cabinet Minister Dr. Noah Wekesa to oversee the transition and prepare the party that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto intend to use as their re-election vehicle in the 2017 general election.

But the winding up directive has triggered opposition from some coalition leaders, who have termed it dictatorial and unilateral.

Key coalition constituent parties of the ruling coalition, among them The National Alliance (TNA), the United Republican Party (URP), Ford Kenya, the Alliance Party popularly known as the Bus, the Republican Council among others have until December this year to close shop and lead their members into JAP.

A five-hour consultative meeting at the JAP headquarters attended by leaders of the Jubilee affiliate parties resolved to set up a 30-member national steering committee led by Mr. Kiraitu Dr. Wekesa to oversee the process of transforming the parties into a single political entity.

The team includes Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki, his National Assembly counterpart Aden Duale, Kericho Senator Charles Keter, lawmakers Dr. Naomi Shaaban, Katoo Ole Metito, Jamleck Kamau, Alice Ng’ang’a, Joyce Emanikor and Mary Emase among others.

“We decided to that there’s enough space and parking for the bus here, the house is big, all of us can now fit in.

The Steering Committee has also been tasked with harmonizing constitutions of the affiliate parties, organise a delegates’ congress in December to approve the dissolution of constituent parties and establish a JAP structure ahead of the 2017 polls.

The 30-member team is expected to meet Kenyatta and Ruto next week for a consultative session.

“We have been meeting informally, and it’s now time to move in a structured format,” added Kiraitu.

But even before the Murungi-Wekesa team embarks on the task of leading the Jubilee coalition troops to JAP, a section of the ruling coalition’s membership has opposed the move led by Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

JAP says those opposed to the idea can shift to other parties.

“We have told those opposed that they can try their luck elsewhere, we will wish them well but meet them head on in 2017,” said Senate Majority leader Kithure Kindiki.

The Political Parties Act 2011 bars one from being a member of more than one political party at the same time.

However, the Jubilee team says Members of Parliament and county assembly members elected on the coalition’s ticket were insulated by Section 22 of the Act and would retain their slots for the remainder of the term even if the constituent parties were to be wound up by December as anticipated.