Mudavadi, Muturi among Kenya Kwanza bigwigs to quit party positions

Moses Wetang’ula

Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang’ula, who is now the National Assembly Speaker, and DP leader Justin Muturi (right), who is eyeing a CS post among those to quit their party positions.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Several Kenya Kwanza leaders angling for State jobs in President William Ruto’s administration will be forced to relinquish their party positions if they are appointed.

The law bars State Officers from holding office in political parties. The constitutional provision is set to affect Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi of Democratic Party, Maendeleo Chap Chap’s Alfred Mutua, Moses Kuria of Chama cha Kazi, Economic Freedom Party (EFP) leader Isaac Abey and former principal secretary Irungu Nyakera of Farmers Party.

Only the President, Deputy President and MPs are exempted by the provision since they are elected through universal suffrage.

“Any appointed State officer shall not hold office in a political party,” states Article 77(2) of the Constitution.

Section 1 of the Article further provides that a “full-time State officer shall not participate in any other gainful employment.”

Mr Mudavadi is poised to take up the Prime Cabinet secretary post based on a pre-election agreement that he entered into with President Ruto. Should he be appointed as per the deal, Mr Mudavadi will have to resign as ANC party leader.

Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu said that the party leaders can, however, still remain members of their respective outfits.

“Once you become a State officer, you have to resign as a party official. You can, however, still remain as a party member. You cannot serve as a State officer and at the same time hold a party position,” said Ms Nderitu.

Mr Muturi told the Sunday Nation that party officials who will be picked for State jobs will have to relinquish their positions as there was no other way around.

“I will definitely relinquish my position as DP party leader once certain pronouncements are made,” said Mr Muturi, a principal in Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Yesterday, there were contradicting reports on whether National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula has resigned as Ford Kenya party leader or was still serving even after taking up his new role in Parliament.

One of Mr Wetang’ula’s aides said that he had resigned, but Ford Kenya deputy party leader Millicent Abudho said she was still a party official. Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) also said they are yet to receive Mr Wetang’ula’s resignation.

“He is yet to resign and there is no communication of him resigning,” said Ms Abudho.

Mr Wetang’ula’s immediate predecessor, Mr Muturi, said that a speaker should not hold an active party position to remain impartial in discharging duties.

“It is a very dicey situation according to my experience; that is why you never saw me attend parliamentary group meetings of Jubilee or TNA in my first term. When you attend such meetings they end up compromising your impartiality,” said Mr Muturi.

He said that Speakers hold special positions and should not just be seen to be impartial but also not be a party leader. He explained that the presidential system has, however, made it complicated.

He cited the US where Speaker of House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi openly sides with Democratic Party, her sponsor outfit.

“It will be tricky because he will continue being hammered for this. But since Speakers are sponsored by specific parties, the issue of being partisan will always be there,” he added.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi had not been gazetted as an official of Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), according to an official at ORPP. This means he is not required to formally resign.

Lawyer Alutalala Mukhwana, an ally of Mr Mudavadi, said it was too early to start discussions about the former deputy premier’s impending resignations.

“If Mr Mudavadi gets appointed as the Prime Cabinet Secretary in accordance to the Kenya Kwanza agreement, he becomes a State Officer. At the moment we are not yet in a position to say whether he will resign or not because he has not been appointed,” said Dr Mukhwana.

He added, “Holding a position in a political party is out rightly outlawed because it will be in direct conflict with his role as a state officer.”

Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba is being mentioned as a possible replacement of Mr Mudavadi. ANC won seven parliamentary and Lamu Governor position while Ford Kenya has six members in the National Assembly, Dr Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap has two MPs.

Mr Abey said that a call to serve the country in whatever capacity supersedes party position. He said that resignation by a party official will not affect the running of the outfits as there are other party members ready to serve in those capacities.

“As a party, we look forward to actively participating in the hopeful administration of President William Ruto and help build our nation together. This includes anticipation for appointment of our members in different capacities in government at the wisdom and pleasure of the President,” said Mr Abey.

“Possible appointment of our officials would not negatively affect party affairs as the party has mechanisms to adjust to such higher calling to serve the nation,” he added.

Lawyer Danstan Omari said that the law is categorical that those holding public offices cannot double up in politics.

“Article 77 is very categorical that you cannot hold two offices as a state officer. Officials of political parties have to relinquish their positions in those parties for them to take up the appointive positions,” said Mr Omari.


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