A man who was shunned and whose mother needed GSU escort to go to the market is now welcomed in Kisumu with a bouquet of flowers, songs and dance.
The Opposition stronghold of Luo Nyanza that once considered him as a traitor now react with glee as Jubilee Party secretary general Raphael Tuju engages in barbs with Deputy President William Ruto, who is seen as Raila’s possible opponent in the 2022 presidential race
It is thus a little wonder that the DP’s acolytes have been angling to have Tuju removed from the party. The Cabinet Secretary without portfolio however enjoys the protection of the Commander-in-Chief and has boldly called out their bluff.
Associates of the DP and even Ruto himself have accused Tuju of turning himself into Raila’s mole. Ruto once describing him as the “Opposition strategist” in Jubilee.
The tidings blowing in his favor are largely attributed to the camaraderie between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila that ended the 2018 post-election hostilities.
Ruto’s surrogates accuse Tuju of being used by the ODM leader to destroy the governing party and frustrate the DP’s presidential ambitions.
“Tuju is the ODM secretary general in Jubilee. ODM and Raila are pretty happy with Tuju’s political activities. The ODM secretary general is mute because Tuju is voicing what he should be saying,” Soy MP Caleb Kositany, an avid supporter of the Deputy President claimed.
He added that Tuju’s new found loyalty to Raila is because he is seeking an elective seat in his Siaya backyard and that “he is using our platform to endear himself to his people and Raila. He has become very popular at home. He has assigned himself the role of the Opposition because it is dead,” said Kositany, who is the Tuju’s deputy.
There has been talk that Tuju is eyeing the Siaya governor’s seat in the next election, but he has denied the claims.
To those peddling the claims, Tuju says they are just being tribal bigots
“The only reason they are making the allegations is because I am Luo. It is even interesting that some of them were founders of ODM. I lost my parliamentary seat in 2007 because I stuck with PNU against the ODM wave. I have never gone back there,” Tuju said.
“If there is anyone who should be unhappy with ODM it should be me. I get pained when I remember the days when ODM supporters would pitch loud speakers outside my mother’s house and utter choice insults in vernacular. But times have changed,” he added.
When he suffered a road accident in February, influential ODM politicians thronged the hospital. Sources say Tuju is nowadays a frequent visitor at the Raila’s Nairobi home.
“Tuju is no longer the ostracized man who taxi drivers would spit at at the Kisumu International Airport. The Handshake has given him a lifeline. I am sure he now sleeps peacefully in his Rarieda home,” said an MP from Siaya.
Uhuru’s men hail him as a professional who was loyal to the party and its manifesto.
Critics claim he is an asset for ODM since he is exposing the intrigues in Jubilee for the Opposition.
Ruto allies have come with a line-up to replace Tuju, party chairman Nelson Duzya and deputy chairman David Murathe. They want the chairman replaced by Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and Kositany elevated to secretary general.