Court temporarily stops Speaker Muturi’s deal with Ruto
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and four officials of the Democratic Party of Kenya have suffered a major setback after the court temporarily stopped them from discussing or signing any agreement on behalf of the party with Deputy President William Ruto’s led Kenya Kwanza coalition.
A ruling delivered by Political Parties Disputes Tribunal led by Jessica M'Mbetsa has also restrained the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu from registering any document purporting to be a coalition agreement with DP as one of the signatories, until May 20 when the tribunal will deliver its judgment in the dispute.
"A temporary injunction restraining the Respondents (Democratic Party, Muturi and other officials) from further discussing, ratifying, perpetuating or in any other way promoting the purported coalition agreement with the 3rd Interested Party ( Kenya Kwanza Alliance)," the tribunal ruled.
The three-member tribunal Jessica M’mbetsa, Samuel Nderitu and Adelaide Mbithi also issued a "temporary injunction restraining the 1st Interested Party (Registrar of Political Parties) from registering any document purporting to be a coalition agreement with the Democratic Party of Kenya as one of the signatories.”
The decision comes after an application was filed before the Tribunal (PPDT) claiming that Muturi’s appointment as DP’s leader in February was done in contravention of the party’s constitution.
In the case filed by Deputy Secretary-General Wambugu Nyamu, Director of Elections Daniel Munene and party member King’ori Choto, the three argue that the decision by Muturi and other party officials to sign a deal with Kenya Kwanza on April 9 was overturned for violating the party’s resolutions at a special National Delegates Conference (NDC) held on February 20.
During the NDC, the party resolved that it will not join any coalition before the August 9 elections but would instead do so after the polls.
The petitioners also informed the tribunal that Muturi had not been a member of DP for the requisite one year allowed to be eligible for election as party leader.
They have accused the party leader of running the affairs of DP in a clandestine manner and deliberately concealing information on the signed resolutions of the February NDC as well as the list and identities of the delegates who attended the convention.
Muturi was also faulted for purporting to enter into a coalition agreement with Kenya Kwanza without justification or authority of party members and contrary to resolutions of the NDC.
“That, in a reaction aimed to suppress these complaints and force Kenya Kwanza to ratify the purported coalition agreement, the respondents have been issuing threats to the complainants and have ejected them from WhatsApp groups,” the petition added.
The three complainants accused Muturi of betrayal and attempted “coup”, saying they were caught flat-footed by the speaker’s “unilateral decision” to join Kenya Kwanza.
Through lawyer Ndegwa Kiroko, the three petitioners have however urged the tribunal to declare that the purported signing of a coalition agreement by the respondents on behalf of the party with Kenya Kwanza was unlawful terming it a usurpation of the authority of the NDC which alone has the powers to bind the party to such agreements.
They are also seeking to have the appointment of Muturi as party leader nullified on the basis that he had not met the criteria stipulated in the party’s constitution.
Also sought is an order compelling the party to disclose the source of the funds for the NDC claiming the proper channels were not used and the money could be suspect.
In the suit, Muturi, Esau Kioni, Jacob Haji, Joseph Munyao and Joseph Mathai have been listed as respondents and the Registrar of Political Parties, DP and Kenya Kwanza Alliance as interested parties.
But Muturi and the four officials had urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on grounds that the petitioners had not exhausted the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism.