Raphael Tuju Three MPs have criticised Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju over his statement that Deputy President William Ruto is not the party’s automatic candidate for 2022 polls. On Sunday, Tuju told a local TV station it is only the National Delegates Conference (NDC) that has powers to decide the party’s flag bearer.His comments during an interview in Citizen TV came just days after Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe caused a storm after he publicly asked the DP to retire when President Uhuru Kenyatta completes his final term.And on Sunday, Tuju said: “We have a president who is the party leader and a deputy president who is the deputy party leader. We also have a constitution showing how we appoint our presidential candidate and as far as I am concerned, nothing has changed.”
Yesterday, DP’s allies , MPs David Pkosing (Pokot South), Robert Pukose (Endebess) and Hilary Koskei (Kipkelion West), warned Tuju’s remarks are likely cause a rift in the party.The legislators said although the Jubilee constitution makes no mention of Ruto being the party’s automatic candidate after the end of President Kenyatta’s second term, every party member knows the DP is the heir-apparent.“It was irresponsible and unfortunate for Tuju to make such remarks considering the recent storm caused by Murathe. The timing was very wrong and the statement is completely unhelpful,” said Pkosing.Pkosing was a member of the steering committee that engineered the merger between The National Alliance (TNA) of President Kenyatta and Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) ahead of the 2013 General Election“Everyone knows the NDC will have the last say on who will be their candidate. The party constitution is clear on how the flag-bearer will be picked. But the unwritten MoU which is in the hearts and minds of Jubilee supporters states Ruto will be the automatic candidate and that is an indisputable fact,” said the Pokot South MP.
Pukose slammed Tuju and Murathe saying the duo are making highly divisive pronouncements yet they are in office illegally after the expiry of their terms. They have been serving as interim officials.“The two hold positions they have on interim basis. Their terms were supposed to expire in December 2017, but they were extended because of the repeat presidential election. As a party, I think time we sent the rogue officials home,” said Dr Pukose.Koskei challenged Tuju to offer himself as a challenger of Ruto for the party’s ticket in 2022 if he is convinced he has enough clout.“It is ridiculous for a party official to come out and state the obvious. We the supporters of Ruto don’t expect that he will be given an automatic ticket but every Kenyan knows he is the front-runner and he should be respected,” said Koskei.“If anyone, including Tuju and Murathe, imagine Ruto is a light-weight, then I dare them to challenge him for the party’s presidential ticket in 2022. We don’t mind people spicing up the race,” Koskei said yesterday.
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