What you need to know:
- UDA’s strategy is to bog down ruling party in a protracted process that runs down the clock.
- Dr Ruto’s allies have openly declared they are only buying time in Jubilee until next year.
Deputy President William Ruto-backed United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has vowed to fight Jubilee’s plot to revoke a coalition agreement between the two parties.
UDA, which prior to rebranding was the Party for Development and Reforms (PDR) that signed the pact with the ruling party, yesterday demanded an arbitration of the proposed dissolution of the coalition agreement.
The rebranded outfit the DP intends to use in his 2022 State House run protested the move by Jubilee to cut ties with it, in what could potentially open up Dr Ruto and his allies to legal hurdles given the provision in law that leaders elected in one party should not propagate ideals of another party.
Yesterday, UDA secretary-general Veronica Maina, in a letter to Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu, invoked the dispute clause in the Jubilee-PDR coalition agreement, kicking off another phase of war with President Kenyatta’s party.
“As provided for in the coalition agreement deposited in your office on May 30, 2018, and further pursuant to Article 6 of the said coalition agreement, we have thereof declared a dispute. The relevant organs of the coalition parties shall undertake the appropriate arbitration processes in a bid to resolve the dispute and update you on the outcome thereof,” Ms Maina said in a letter to Ms Nderitu yesterday.
UDA’s strategy is to bog down Jubilee in a protracted process that runs down the clock towards next year’s elections.
Dr Ruto’s allies have openly declared they are only buying time in Jubilee until next year when it’s legally safe to jump ship.
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi acknowledged they were only bidding time in Jubilee until May next year.
“We are remaining in Jubilee Party and that is why no MP has tendered his resignation from the party that sponsored us to Parliament but come May 2022, we will cease being members of a party which is dictatorial,” Mr Sudi told the Nation.
Constitutional lawyer Bobby Mkangi explained the electoral commission cannot hold a by-election three months to the General Election, a timeline that would cushion the Ruto camp in case of expulsion in the event the PDR-UDA pact were to be terminated.
“The Constitution, party constitution and Office of Registrar of Political Parties gives the framework on how members who have decided to advance the interests of another party can be dealt with and now Ruto’s camp can scheme with that clause barring IEBC from holding any by-election three months to the next General Election,” argues Mr Mkangi.
Mr Mkangi added: “The technicality the DP’s camp will have to avoid at the moment is their expulsion from the party and losing their seats to warrant by-elections.”
Fate of coalition
It’s a problem Ms Maina anticipated in yesterday’s letter in which she informed the parties’ registrar that no MP should be punished yet until the fate of the coalition is decided.
“Meantime, all parliamentarians holding office pursuant to the coalition agreement and in particular, the deputy Majority Leader Senator Fatuma Dullo should continue holding office until such time as the disputes arbitration panel shall determine the fate of the coalition,” Ms Maina said.
Ms Nderitu, whose office received the Jubilee request seeking the termination of the coalition pact, said her office’s work was to take note of the party’s proposed dissolution, and its resolution, if a dispute is lodged and arbitrated.
“As far as we are concerned, we are just a depository of the agreements, and now, the letter by a party seeking to end it. We are not expected to do anything else,” Ms Nderitu said.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata described the move by Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju to seek the dissolution of the agreement as “illogical”.
“One cannot have his cake and eat it. Senator Fatuma Dullo, a UDA elected senator, now technically loses her position in the Senate. Jubilee does not have the competence to break an alliance and maintain positions of parliamentary UDA leaders it desires. That is illogical,” Mr Kang'ata said yesterday.