The Jubilee Party will on Saturday officially unveil Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as its candidates for the presidency and deputy presidency, respectively, for this year’s General Election.
The two are expected to use the delegates convention at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi to rally their troops behind them after the just concluded primaries that were characterised by acrimony in many counties.
Sources told the Nation that the party will be seeking to project President Kenyatta as a man of the people and a “feel-good” candidate.
One of the strategies President Kenyatta is employing, the Nation has learned, is encouraging competition from within in what strategists have advised will drive up numbers during the General Election.
As a follow-through of this commitment, the President will be endorsed on Saturday by the various affiliate parties that did not dissolve to form the Jubilee Party. The parties will hold similar delegates meetings in the city.
Kanu will be at the Kasarani Gymnasium, where ODM endorsed its candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, on Friday. Maendeleo Chap Chap will be in Lavington while Narc-Kenya which will be at St Andrews Hall.
The Economic Freedom Party will be at Nyayo Basketball Court while Kenya Patriotic Party will hold its forum at Boma Hotel.
Already, the Frontier Alliance Party, associated with Marsabit governor Ukur Yattani, on Thursday officially endorsed President Kenyatta’s candidature.
Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said there will be 4,000 delegates attending the convention. “We also expect MPs, senators and governors who lost in the nominations to come. They are still members of NDC (National Delegates Conference) by virtue of them being elected,” he said.
On Friday, President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto spent the better part of the day meeting leaders from 14 counties to map out their campaign strategy ahead of August 8 elections.
They were leaders from Western, Nyanza, Lower Eastern, and Coast regions who will fly the Jubilee flag when decision time comes.
“Last time we had difficulties going to Western. In fact, we only campaigned in Bungoma because we had no one to talk to about the agenda of Jubilee. Now we not only have people but serious candidates,” President Kenyatta said.
At the meeting, attended by governors Ken Lusaka (Bungoma), Hussein Dado (Tana River), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Taveta MP Naomi Shaban, Mr Ruto dismissed the perception that the areas which the leaders came from were still Opposition strongholds.
“During the 2013 General Election, it was difficult to talk about Jubilee in Kisii, Coast and Western regions. But this time round we are doing well as our development track record speaks for itself,” said Mr Ruto.
Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki said the NDC will provide a platform for the party members to bond after what he termed as “fiercely competitive” nominations.
“The party leadership will be asking all those who lost not to lose focus on the ultimate prize of re-electing President Kenyatta,” he said, adding that the NDC would kick-start the final leg of campaigns in which they hope to bag 200 MPs in the August election.
“We are also aiming to have 30 senators, 30 governors and a majority in the over 30 county assemblies so that we can safely pass the Jubilee agenda of transforming Kenya,” said Prof Kindiki.
Insiders told the Nation that the convention will not only dwell on policy issues, but will also sell their candidate as a humane, down to earth and people-centred leader.
The party is keen to project its candidate as a unifying figure at home and abroad.
After the forum, the President and his deputy will proceed to Ngong, Kajiado, for a rally.
- President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and Deputy President William Ruto at the launch of Jubilee Party at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani in Nairobi on September 10, 2016.