Politics

Early win for Ruto camp in Uhuruto stormy divorce

Early win for Ruto camp in Uhuruto stormy divorce
  • Move means that Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika remain as Majority Leader and Majority whip respectively.
  • West Pokot Senator Samwel Poghisio (Kanu) had on Monday been elected as the Majority Leader in a Jubilee parliamentary group meeting.

Deputy President William Ruto’s allies have won round one of the stormy divorce between the DP and President Uhuru Kenyatta after securing an order suspending the Jubilee-Kanu post-election coalition deal.

The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT), in a ruling dated May 12, also suspended any action accruing from the deal.

This means that based on the order, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika remain as Majority Leader and Majority whip respectively.

West Pokot Senator Samwel Poghisio (Kanu) had on Monday been elected as the Majority Leader in a Jubilee parliamentary group meeting.

The meeting was attended by Mr Poghisio, Baringo senator Gideon Moi and nominated Senator Abshiro Halakhe based on the strength of the post-poll deal that has now been suspended.

“In the interest of justice, an interim order be and is hereby issued declaring that any decision or action founded on the coalition agreement purportedly signed between Jubilee Party and Kanu and deposited on May 4, 2020 and approved or confirmed by the registrar of political parties on May 8, 2020 is null and void and off no effect,” the tribunal ruled.

'NOT INVITED'

Ms Kihika had in a letter to Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka protested the changes made at State House, Nairobi, saying that the Senators at State House were less than the half of all Jubilee members required, and that no vote was taken to confirm the changes.

“The requirements that make it mandatory for more than half of the senators to remove a Majority Leader or Minority Leader was not met . . . No vote was carried out as required by the Standing order 19 to remove the Majority Leader and the Majority whip,” Ms Kihika said in the letter.

“As Jubilee Senators, we did not receive any formal invitation for any meeting with an agenda to discuss the removal of the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Majority whip,” she added.

She said that the decision was not sanctioned by the National Executive Committee as required by the Jubilee Party Constitution.

“We therefore hold that the leadership of the Majority party in the Senate remains as it has been until all the requirements of the Constitution of Kenya, the Standing Orders and the Jubilee Party Constitution and the law are adhered to,” said Ms Kihika.

In the ruling, the PPDT blocked any execution of the Jubilee-Kanu deal until the ruling party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has met.

“An interim order is hereby issued restraining Jubilee and Kanu from making any coalition agreement on behalf of Jubilee with any other party/parties without a valid, formal resolution of a duly convened National Executive Committee of the Jubilee Party and in strict compliance of the provisions of the Political Parties Regulations, 2019 and Article 32.2 of the Jubilee Party Constitution,” the tribunal ruled.

Any such deal, the Jubilee Constitution says, “Shall originate from a Post-Election Coalition Negotiation Panel consisting of the national chairperson, the secretary-general and two other persons nominated by the National Executive Committee.”

The agreement between the two parties was received by the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu on May 8.

The deal was signed by Mr Tuju, Jubilee Chairman Nelson Dzuya, and from Kanu, Gideon Moi and the SG, Nick Salat.

The Ruto team insists that the Jubilee NEC has never met since 2017 and could therefore not have approved the deal.

CANCEL COALITION

Meanwhile, a Ruto ally -- Soy MP Caleb Kositany -- had also written to the Registrar of Political Parties (ROPP) to cancel the Jubilee-Kanu coalition.

In his letter to Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu today, he argues that the agreement did not follow the Constitution of the party hence it is null and void.

"Please be informed that the aforementioned agreement is not compliant with the Jubilee Constitution and the Political Parties Act, therefore it is null and void," he says in the letter.

The MP also asks Ms Nderitu to reject the agreement until due process is followed.

Mr Kositany, DP Ruto’s de-facto spokesman, said that the team was now considering legal action after what they said was continued disobedience by Jubilee officials allied to Mr Kenyatta.

“We are not aware of this coalition. It was handled in secrecy. Even then, that agreement is null and void as it was not sanctioned by the NEC of the party,” Mr Kositany, who is also the Soy MP, said.

Mr Kositany claims that the Kanu-Jubilee deal, which now allows Kanu to attend Jubilee parliamentary group meetings besides sitting in committees and on the majority side in both Houses of Parliament, was part of what he termed as Secretary-General Raphael Tuju’s “illegalities.”