Inside Politics

Rebel Jubilee MPs must leave party –Azimio

Thursday, May 25th, 2023 06:10 | By
Azimio team
Azimio team led by Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. PHOTO/Facebook/Raila Odinga

Rebel MPs who were elected on a Jubilee Party ticket but have since crossed over to Kenya Kwanza must resign and seek fresh mandate, Azimio One Kenya coalition leaders have demanded.

Led by Raila Odinga, the coalition’s top leaders also asked the former ruling party — whose leader is retired President Uhuru Kenyatta — to revoke the nomination of MPs who have expressed allegiance to Kenya Kwanza.

If this is done, Sabina Chege, who has been designated as interim party leader by the rebel group, could lose her nominated seat. Also likely to lose out is EALA Member of Parliament Kanini Kega, who has claimed the position of interim party Secretary-General.

Azimio’s challenge for the rebels to resign came just days after Uhuru hosted the party’s National Delegates Conference in Nairobi, during which the rebel MPs were removed from various party leadership positions.

 The leaders further demanded that the Registrar of Political Parties, Anne Nderitu, should resign, claiming that she had demonstrated partisanship in favour of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, whose leader is President William Ruto.

“Anne Nderitu no longer enjoys the confidence of her clients, the political parties,” said Democratic Action Party leader Eugene Wamalwa in a statement he read on behalf of his Azimio counterparts.

Addressing the press at SKM Centre in Karen, Nairobi yesterday, the leaders said that bipartisan talks between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio would remain suspended until the ruling alliance agrees to deal with the interim issues raised by Azimio.

One of the issues that Azimio has demanded is that Kenya Kwanza stops enticing Azimio affiliated legislators to support the government side in Parliament. The coalition’s representatives in the talks walked out on Tuesday, accusing their counterparts of lacking sincerity.

“We endorse the decision by our delegation to walk out of the talks. Until Kenya Kwanza agrees to deal with the interim issues raised by our team, the talks will remain suspended,” Wamalwa, the former Cabinet Secretary for Defence said. “The issue of opening the (presidential election results) server, cost of living and cessation of attacks in Jubilee and other political parties are not negotiable.”

Azimio’s push to have Jubilee rebels resign and face fresh elections may, however, face challenges given that the country is yet to re-constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the body solely mandated to conduct elections and by-elections.

IEBC panel

At present, the commission has no commissioners following the expiry of the terms of chairman Wafula Chebukati and two commissioners, the resignation of three others and the sacking of the sixth. Only the secretariat remains but it lacks powers to conduct elections.

Attempts by Kenya Kwanza team to hire new commissioners hit a snag after Azimio rejected the selection panel that had been named to interview prospective candidates. The panel remains in limbo awaiting the outcome of the bipartisan talks.

Under the previous administration, attempts to remove Godfrey Ososti, who had been nominated by Amani National Congress (ANC) party, and Isaac Mwaura who had been nominated by the Jubilee Party, failed to bear fruit and the two went on to serve their full terms.

Osotsi was kicked out of ANC for supporting Raila but was later rescued by the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal after it suspended the decision by the Registrar of Political Parties to remove his name from the ANC party list. At the time, the tribunal’s chairman, Kyalo Mbobu, said the decision to eject the MP was illegal.

Mwaura, on the other hand, survived after the High Court in Nairobi reinstated him as Senator. The move followed a ruling by judge Joseph Sergon who declared the decision by Jubilee Party to expel Mwaura as illegal because due process was not followed.

Said Judge Sergon at the time: “The appellant was not accorded a fair hearing.”

And yesterday, during the press briefing, Azimio leaders said the bi-partisan talks had collapsed.

“Kenya Kwanza sees the talks as a process of managing the political situation, calming down the political temperatures and continuing with business as usual,” said Wamalwa.

Super majority

According to the leaders, the ongoing destabilisation of the Jubilee Party was sponsored by Kenya Kwanza and was aimed at ensuring that the ruling alliance gets a super-majority in Parliament with the ultimate aim of amending the Constitution.

Some clauses of the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in both Houses to be passed. Others, however, require that any proposed changes be subjected to a referendum.

Azimio fears that a super majority will pave the way for removal of presidential term limits.

“Kenya Kwanza also wants to remove the necessity of Parliament approving every tax measure and wants to give the President the power to impose some taxes without always having to go through a Finance Bill for every increase,” Wamalwa said.

He challenged the Registrar of Political Parties to enforce the resolution passed during Monday’s Jubilee Party’s NDC.

Deny funds

“Kenya Kwanza must make no mistake that Azimio will do everything possible to protect its affiliate parties from these heinous attacks. We ask all Kenyans to join us in protecting multiparty democracy for which many Kenyans lost their lives,” said Wamalwa.

“We hasten to add that the desire to kill political parties goes beyond the attacks going on and includes efforts by the Kenya Kwanza regime to deny funding to Azimio-affiliated political parties.”

According to the former CS, Kenya Kwanza also wants to continue with measures that will make the cost of living even more expensive for ordinary citizens, and proceed with picking of new IEBC commissioners without the involvement of Azimio.

The opposition party now plans to hold a parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday to chart the way forward. In the meantime, it has given the government six days to meet its demands — including stopping the raids on Jubilee — or the bi-partisan talks will officially collapse.

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