The political turmoil that has been plaguing the Jubilee party is threatening to resurface within the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), led by President William Ruto, due to statements made by some of its leaders suggesting that affiliate parties in the Kenya Kwanza alliance must be dissolved.
While President Ruto maintains that affiliate parties within the alliance should have the freedom to decide whether to join UDA or not, his stance is that these parties should be dissolved.
This became evident during a meeting of the National Governing Council (NGC) held at the Bomas of Kenya on Friday.
In his address, President Ruto, who is the party leader, emphasized that the primary goal of UDA is to become the largest political party, stressing the need for parties deciding to join it to be dissolved.
“We seek your permission (members) to engage them (affiliate parties) so that we can persuade those who will come to join us to unite and become one big national party,” said President Ruto, indicating his intention to persuade these parties to dissolve.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who is the Deputy Leader of UDA, reiterated his earlier statement that the Kenya Kwanza government had been structured like a shareholder company.
Addressing the meeting, Mr. Gachagua insisted that “full shareholders in the leadership of President Ruto are members of UDA.”
“In President Ruto’s leadership, there is ownership of shares. President Ruto, the true shareholders in your leadership are those seated here (UDA members). Even though our position is that he should work for all Kenyans, those who will assist him are those who believed in him and supported him,” said Mr. Gachagua.
Political analysts suggest that these statements may rekindle the internal strife that Jubilee experienced between 2018 and 2022, during which any leaders perceived as rebels or close allies of Deputy President Ruto (then Deputy President) were ousted.
Some of those who lost their positions included Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, National Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Kimani Ichung’wah, and six nominated senators on allegations of “disloyalty,” though this decision was later overturned by the courts.
According to political analyst Mark Bichachi, this direction could incite rebellion within UDA and disrupt its strategies, much like what was witnessed in Jubilee.
“The pressure from UDA leaders for affiliate parties in Kenya Kwanza to be dissolved is very dangerous. Parties like Ford-Kenya have a long political history. ANC is also one of the influential parties in the Western region. Therefore, the push for these parties to dissolve is very risky. It could become a thorn in the side of President Ruto and his allies,” said Mr. Bichachi.
He further emphasized that President Ruto must exercise caution when pushing for this, as he himself was one of the major casualties during the Jubilee upheaval.