Jubilee woes deepen as factions flex muscles ahead of national convention

Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni

Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni delivers his address at Maanzoni lodge in Machakos County during an Azimio La Umoja- One Kenya Coalition parliamentary group retreat on February 9, 2023. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Jubilee Party's troubles deepened Wednesday after the Kanini Kega faction wrote a letter to retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s wing, opposing plans to hold a National Delegates Convention (NDC) on March 24 and 25.

The Kega faction met on February 10 and announced the ejection of former Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni as secretary-general in a coup that has resulted in a hot contest as the two camps fight for the weakened soul of the former ruling party.

“Your purported notice of an NDC to be held on March 24 and 25, 2023 is irregular and in breach of our party constitution. I urge you to correct the indiscretion … and avoid the usurpations of powers that do not inherently attach to yourself as per our party constitution,” stated the Wednesday letter, signed by the party’s national chairman, Mr Nelson Dzuya, who is loyal to Mr Kega’s wing.

He added that Mr Kioni, leader of the Kenyatta side, has no legal footing to order a legally binding NDC, “acting on a frolic of his own”.

The letter that is copied to all national executive committee members and the Registrar of political parties follows Mr Kioni’s paid advert, informing the party of the NDC.

“I make reference to the notice of an NDC, published on page two of the Daily Nation on Tuesday, purportedly signed by you. As you are aware, the procedure of convening a meeting of the NDC is provided in our party constitution,” the letter says.

The letter sought to remind Mr Kioni that article 10.5 demands that the secretary-general will convene meetings of the National Executive Committee (NEC), and the NDC to take place at the assigning by the NEC…“and be presided over by the various respective chairpersons”.

He was told that he published the notice without NEC approval.

The letter further reminded Mr Kioni that article 8.1 of the party’s constitution provides that an ordinary session of the NDC shall be held at least once every five years at a place and date to be determined by the secretary-general in consultation with the NEC, with an NDC to follow by approval of the NEC.

Mr Dzuya communicated to Mr Kioni that the party’s NEC held its first meeting on February 10 and that the last NDC was held on February 26, 2022.

He was reminded that the NEC recommended that an NDC be held within six months and informed that his conduct in running party affairs will be handled through the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism.

Mr Dzuya toldd Mr Kioni that he has challenged the validity of the February 10 NEC meeting in case number PPDTA/E001/2023, which is pending at the Political Parties Disputes Tribuna (PPDT).

“No other NEC meeting has been held to sanction the holding of a National Delegates Convention meeting” and “kindly note that the pending resolutions to replace you as the secretary-general will be reviewed after your case to challenge are determined”.

Mr Kioni’s duties were handed on an interim basis to Mr Kega while those of vice chairman David Murathe were handed to nominated MP Sabina Chege.

Mr Kioni has since declared that he will fight tooth and nail for the Jubilee Party, to rid it of “the black market of buying off our elected members by the government”.

He said “those with a price are free to go to the political black market, now live in State House, and all you need is to go to the gates holding up a placard declaring your price and you shall be bought”.

Mr Kioni insisted that he is not illiterate in matters of law and will follow them to the letter.

“I have faith in institutions. It is amazing how some people are entrusted with those offices and quickly degenerate to behaviors that were not familiar to sound reasoning,” he said.

“We have gone to court and all these individuals speaking are facing disciplinary action in the Jubilee Party but State House wants to help them overlook the law and give them leeway to afford them a thorough pass”.

Mr Kioni claimed the office of the Registrar of Political Parties has been captured by the government and that this is why after realising Jubilee was being torn apart through it, he decided to seek justice in the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT).

“We already have an order to myself among others, to sanction me thus: “pending the determination of the PPDT application, interim conservatory orders are issued staying all the deliberations and decisions of the February 10 NEC, hence retaining him and other claimed to be ejected officials in office, hence validity of his actions”.