He was frank and authoritative. That is how Jubilee MPS described President Uhuru Kenyatta’s demeanor at their tense Parliamentary Group meeting on Tuesday.
At the meeting that lasted less than an hour, MPs who spoke to People Daily said President Kenyatta was assertive and warned the party’s Tanga Tanga faction that he will not tolerate anyone opposed to his agenda.
During the meeting, attended by Deputy President William Ruto, party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and 212 MPs, the tough-talking warned his critics to take his silence for weakness.
“You will know me, I will be so hard on you. I know what you have been doing and how you have been referring to me. Those names that you have branded me. I know them, I am always given intelligence on each of you when you are still asleep,” the President is reported to have told the MPs who checked into State House as early as 8 am.
Despite the return of President Kenyatta and DP Ruto camaraderie over the last two days, the Jubilee Party leader still kicked out two of his deputy’s close allies from key House leadership positions.
The Ruto allies who were demoted from their roles as Chief Whip and Deputy Whip in the National Assembly are Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and nominated MP Cecily Mbarire.
They were replaced by Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe and Igembe North MP Maoka Maore.
However, the National Assembly’s Majority Leader, Aden Duale, was the luckiest of all Ruto’s allies having survived the purge.
He had been widely speculated to be the main target of the Jubilee clean-up of members loyal to the Deputy President, whose Tanga Tanga group has destabilized and polarised the ruling party.
The DP, who was invited to speak by Tuju, a man he has bitterly accused of frustrating him in the party, was reported to have been brief and diplomatic in his speech in support of the President, who said he was ready to work with anyone who would support his agenda.
“The DP did not say much, all he said is that he was behind the President and that the PG meeting was his (Uhuru’s) day,” an MP present told People Daily.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany, a close ally of DP Ruto, described the President’s tone as “terrible and authoritative”, saying Uhuru was “too harsh” on the MPs, even as he protested that Washiali and Mbarire’s removal was due to their link Ruto, not incompetence.
“The President’s tone was terrible and thank God he even swallowed some words. He didn’t let them out. It was ‘either my way or the highway’. These people (Washiali and Mbarire) have been removed solely because they seem to be on the same agenda with the Deputy President,” the MP who is the Jubilee Party deputy secretary-general said.
“We have waited for a PG for three years and any serious political party that has not had a meeting for three years should sit the whole day to deliberate on issues that have accumulated over that time. Nobody spoke, only the master of ceremonies who welcomed someone to prayer, then called Tuju who called the DP, who then called the President,” he said.