Deputy President (DP) William Ruto’s rebuke of Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju over his closeness to opposition leader Raila Odinga has touched off another row in the ruling party.
In a tweet that was widely shared on social media platforms, DP Ruto questioned Tuju’s political fidelity following revelations that he was part of the former premier’s inner circle.
“So our democracy is so liberal that the SG of the ruling party has become the chief strategist of the opposition!! Maajabu,” Dr. Ruto tweeted.
It was the first time Mr. Ruto had directly criticised Tuju who has warmed up to the Opposition leader following last year’s unity pact between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
But in response, Tuju said he was not willing to engage in a public spat with Ruto who he said is his boss in the party.
“I refuse to be drawn into public argument with the Deputy President or engage him through the media because he is my boss,” Tuju said in a statement to media houses.
He added: “I am committed to supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to unite the country through bold steps like the BBI, the Handshake, the fight against corruption and the Big Four agenda.”
The DP’s tweet offered more arsenal for the war between Team Tanga Tanga, which is allied to Ruto, and Kieleweke, which opposes him.
Gatundu MP Moses Kuria, who has been sitting on the fence on the factional wars, told Ruto that Tuju was only a “messenger”.
“Dear my friend Deputy President William Ruto. Jubilee went into political bankruptcy on the 9th of March 2018,” he wrote, alluding to the date of the Handshake between Uhuru and Raila.
“The nature and configuration of Kenya’s politics forced us into Article 11 Bankruptcy. Raphael Tuju is only a Receiver-Manager. Don’t attack the messenger please,” added Kuria.
Many Kenyans on social media remind Ruto that he had also incorporated ODM legislators in his 2022 presidential campaigns.
On Sunday, Tuju revealed that he had mended fences with Raila, his erstwhile nemesis in Luo-Nyanza politics.
In an interview with a local daily, he attributed his new-found alliance with the opposition leader to his “changed leadership style”.
“The President is talking about the Big Four agenda plus fighting corruption and uniting the country and Raila is the interlocutor with him,” he said.
Ruto allied MPs have in recent past piled pressure on Tuju to resign, accusing him of being part of forces out to stop the DP from ascending to the presidency.
Last month, Nandi Senator Samson Cheragei said they would not watch as Ruto’s plans were being frustrated by party insiders.
“We have resolved that as North Rift leaders, we will no longer remit our monthly contributions to Jubilee Party because of the mistreatment that is being meted out on the DP by insiders,” he said.
But speaking at a church service yesterday, Ruto did not speak about his tiff with Tuju, only saying he would continue to traverse the country to execute his mandate.
“I am discharging my mandate. What people are saying is normal and part of the job,” he said at a church service at PAG Makadara.
Ruto later attended another service at Evangelical Christian Church in Mathare where he said he would continue to financially support churches.
“I have no shame in God who I believe in even if I have been criticised by some people over contributions to churches,” he said.