Jubilee Party officials allied to President William Ruto have called for a parallel special National Delegates Convention (NDC) to expel retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and his allies from the outfit.
In an escalation of the fierce battle for the soul of the former ruling party, the rival camp led by East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Kanini Kega announced July 22 as the date for the NDC, barely a month after Mr Kenyatta convened a similar delegates’ convention.
The rival camp on Tuesday held a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting that resolved to call for the NDC designed to formally kick out Mr Kenyatta and other officials allied to him before installing new office bearers.
But Mr Kenyatta’s camp through the party’s Vice Chairman David Murathe laughed off the move as inconsequential citing the party constitution that allows only the party leader and substantive Secretary General to convene such a meeting.
Mr Murathe said that Mr Kega has no powers to convene an NDC since the position he purports to hold of acting Secretary General is not recognised by the party's constitution.
“None of those people in that other side has the powers to convene a delegates’ convention. Kega is not gazetted anywhere as an official of Jubilee. NDC can only be called by the Secretary General or the party leader,” said Mr Murathe.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Kega said NEC made the decision to call for the parallel convention after the party’s Internal Disputes Resolution Committee(IDRC) declared the May 22 NDC by Mr Kenyatta as null and void as it was allegedly convened irregularly.
The camp also cited a letter by Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu that temporarily rejected resolutions made by the delegates citing missing documents.
“The meeting has also resolved that the party will hold a Special National Delegates Convention (SNDC) at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on July 22, 2023. A notice convening the SNDC will be sent out in due course as required by the party constitution,” Mr Kega said in a statement.
“In light of the above, we wish to inform our members that the purported changes in the leadership of our party made at the said meeting are of no legal consequences,” he added.
The NDC by the Kenyatta-led camp had expelled Mr Kega and other rebel party officials and replaced them with loyalists.
The Kega-led camp has since written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula instructing him not to effect any changes in the House leadership.
The rival camp had during the NDC kicked out nominated MP Sabina Chege as deputy Minority Whip, and replaced her with Embakasi West MP Mark Mwenje.
“The party has communicated to the Speaker of the National Assembly that the leadership of the party in the House remains the same including the position of the Deputy Minority Whip held by Sabina Chege,” said Mr Kega.
Jubilee Deputy Secretary General Joshua Kuttuny said the NDC would either confirm current acting officials or pick new ones to steer the outfit.
“We will have elections of party officials by confirming those who are acting or to elect new ones. A notice will be issued to call for those seeking to fill some of these positions,” Mr Kuttuny told the Nation.
The planned NDC by the rival camp has a potential of scuttling the bi-partisan talks between Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition and the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga recently issued a warning to President Ruto, saying Azimio planned to take decisive action against his alleged invasion of its member parties, including pulling out of the inter-party talks and possible resumption of mass protests.
Similar warning was also issued by Azimio principal and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
"If they allow the other Jubilee faction to hold another illegal NDC, we will stop the talks because it's an attack on multi-party democracy," Mr Musyoka declared during the NDC by Mr Kenyatta’s camp.
In a letter dated May 29, the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) instructed Mr Kenyatta’s camp to provide the list of delegates that attended the last month’s NDC before it can ratify the resolutions made.
The demand by Ms Nderitu implies that Mr Kenyatta’s expulsion of party rebels, including nominated MP Sabina Chege, East African Legislative assembly (EALA) MP Kanini Kega and National chairman Nelson Dzuya cannot be effected.
It also means the new officials picked during the NDC to replace the rebels cannot assume office pending provision of the required documents.
Former MPs Jimmy Angwenyi, Naomi Shabban, Joshua Kutuny, Mutava Musyimi and Rachel Nyamai were expelled during the NDC that was controversially convened by Mr Kenyatta.
During the meeting, the delegates also endorsed the appointment of former Planning Principal Secretary Saitoti Torome as the new national chairman, replacing Mr Dzuya.
Mr Yasin Noor was named deputy secretary-general, replacing Mr Kutuny. Former MP Jamleck Kamau was appointed national director of elections, replacing Mr Kega.
Jubilee Party also appointed Ms Pauline Njoroge as its new deputy organising secretary.
“Following a review of the submitted documents, this office is unable to address the substance of the resolution for non-submission of requisite documents…,” said Ms Nderitu in a letter dated May 29, and which was addressed to Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni.
“…a duly signed list of attendance with identification numbers to ascertain composition of the NDC and quorum in line with Articles 8.1(1) and 23 of the Jubilee Party constitution respectively,” states the letter.
ORPP has also demanded for a ‘comprehensive minutes of the NDC meeting to, inter alia, determine the process and mode of election given that only an extract of minutes was submitted.’
The office requires the documents to determine if the May 22 NDC was properly convened by Mr Kenyatta.
It also seeks to establish if the change of venue from Bomas of Kenya to Ngong Racecourse was procedurally done and whether the resolutions made meet the set threshold.