Kenya:Is The Jubilee Party Dead?
By Samuel Ouma
Wind of division continues to blow in Jubilee party as leaders bad mouth one another following Internal wrangles that threaten the unity of the ruling party.
Famous handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition Chief Raila Odinga, fight on graft and lifestyle audit are some of the factors that have thrown the outfit in tatters. Now the ongoing Mau eviction has widen the division between leaders allied to the deputy president William Ruto and those allied to President Kenyatta and opposition leader.
The Government started an environment conservation operation by evicting illegal settlers who encroached Mau forest, a move that Ruto’s allies have dismissed. Led by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator and Senate Majority Leader KipchumbaMurkomen, the irate leaders termed the eviction as illegal and abuse of human rights.
On Friday a court declined to stop the ongoing forceful eviction of squatters. Narok Environment and Land Court Judge Mohamed Kullow said the case lacked sufficient evidence of mistreatment. The applicants led by Joseph Kimeto through their lawyer told the court to halt the eviction on grounds that it has subjected children and women to untold suffering. They alleged property is being destroyed and houses torch in the process.
The courts verdict was followed by an impromptu visit to the scene by Kipchumba Murkomen. Defiant Murkomen urged the evictees to stay put. He promised to keep on fighting for the plight of evictees saying he will not sit and watch as innocent Kenyans are thrown of Mau by the Government. Murkomen said blamed Raila Odinga for the woes that have befallen the alleged illegal residents of Mau Forest. He linked Raila with the eviction order labeling President Kenyatta a good man who cannot carry out such an activity.
“That president that I defended even as others were being sworn in as unofficial presidents, I know him as a president who loves the common man and if he has change I would know,” reiterated Murkomen.
He added that families find themselves in the horrible situation because of the March 9 pact deal and the infiltration into government by some people through the back door. He faulted government for turning its attention on non-issues while serious issues like the importation of contraband sugar and corruption at the National Youth Service remain unresolved.
“This relationship they are saying that I should not talk about, is it better than the lives of 40,000 children who are out of school? It is the relationship better than mothers and old men sleeping in the cold,” said the Senate majority leader.
In rejoinder, Murang’a Governor Mwangi Iria, Jubilee governor, condemned Murkomen for his sentiments asking disgruntled leaders to seek internal dispute resolution mechanism.
Jubilee party Secretary General Raphael Tuju has revealed that Mau eviction will not be called off. He dismissed claims by Rift Valley legislators that the eviction is being conducted in an inhumane manner and there is massive violation of human rights.
He asked aggrieved individuals to channel their complaints to the relevant authority. H said the President is aware of the eviction carried by Kenya Forest Services, Kenya Water Tower Authority and Kenya Wildlife Service. Tuju hinted at taking disciplinary action against Kipchumba Murkomen for undermining the president and going against Jubilee’s laws.
“The government has to do what it has to do for the benefit of this country. You want to tell me that it was carried in inhumane way, when we still don’t have a single casuality?” Tuju said.
Tuju’s statement has been heavily criticized by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot who has called him to apologize for claiming evictions were done peacefully. Cheruiyot attributed Tuju’s remarks to personal opinion. He termed them as dumbfounding and unfortunate.
On Monday 13th of July 2018, residents of Narok (location of Mau Forest) took to the street protesting against Kipchumba Murkomen and his allies for opposing Mau’s evictions. The warned Murkomen against politicizing the matter and inciting people against the government.