Uhuru, Sabina fight over positions in Parliament

Jubilee leader Uhuru Kenyatta

Jubilee leader Uhuru Kenyatta during the party NDC at Ngong Racecourse on May 22, 2023. Inset is Sabina Chege (top left) and Kanini Kega. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The MPs claimed the party was shortchanged by opposition leader Raila Odinga’s ODM in the sharing of committee positions.
  • The pronouncement by the Chege-led faction comes barely a day after retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s side signaled a purge against Jubilee rebels.

Rival camps in the troubled Jubilee Party are now battling for Parliamentary Committee positions in a renewed wrangle over control of the political outfit.

Nominated MP Sabina Chege on Friday led some Jubilee MPs in demanding for committee slots that the former ruling party is entitled to in both the National Assembly and in the Senate.

The MPs claimed the party was shortchanged by opposition leader Raila Odinga’s ODM in the sharing of committee positions.

The camp is also seeking for a slot in the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) after National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula declared the outfit a Parliamentary Party.

The opposition has Mavoko MP Patrick Makau (Wiper), his Likoni counterpart Mishi Mboko (ODM) and Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni (ODM) in the powerful seven-member commission.

Jubilee had nominated Sirisia MP John Waluke but his name was omitted at the submission stage because he was in jail at the time.

“We were mistreated in Azimio and we now decided to chart our path as a distinct party. I want to tell our MPs that no one will be removed from their committees. We have our slots as a Parliamentary and we will start demanding that we get them,” said Ms Chege.

“As Jubilee Party, we are happy and satisfied with the ruling... so that our party stands ringfenced to resist the bullying and underhand tactics of Azimio, especially the ODM wing. We shall now chart our future within the bicameral setup of the 13th Parliament with a right to associate with any coalition of the willing,” she added.

Ms Chege was flanked by Eldas MP Adan Keynan and his Sirisia counterpart John Waluke.

The pronouncement by the Chege-led faction comes barely a day after retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s side signaled a purge against Jubilee rebels.

A National Executive Council meeting on Thursday resolved to have the rebels removed from parliamentary committees just a day after the camp succeeded in kicking Ms Chege from the National Assembly Deputy Minority Whip.

But Ms Chege on Friday termed the resolution by the NEC as misguided and made by individuals in denial of the leadership changes at Jubilee.

“There have been misguided pronunciations by some politicians who in their malicious intentions expected that Jubilee Party and its elected leaders shall be brought down by the continued onslaught by persons who are still living in denial and hangover of the last general elections,” said Ms Chege.

Mr Keynan said Jubilee is no longer a member of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition. He said even Jubilee officials are not in possession of the said agreement.

“The purported Azimio coalition agreement remains an illegitimate document in the records of Parliament. The Azimio coalition is founded on quicksand, fraught with inconsistencies and illegalities that rendered it inadmissible in the House,” said Keynan.

But during the NEC meeting on Thursday, Mr Kenyatta’s camp insisted that the party remains a partner in Azimio.

The meeting also disclosed its plans to instigate the expulsion of Ms Chege and East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Kanini Kega from the party, with the end game being to have them lose their positions in their respective assemblies.

The officials announced that its National chairman Nelson Dzuya, former Taveta MP Naomi Shaban (Deputy Party Leader, Outreach) and Jimi Angwenyi (Deputy Party Leader) ceased being officials of the party after they were appointed to serve in various boards by President William Ruto.

President Ruto appointed Ms Shaban to serve as the chairperson of the Tobacco Control Board for a period of two years, while Mr Angwenyi was appointed to serve as the chairperson of National Heroes Council.

Mr Dzuya was appointed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki as a member of the Non-Governmental Organisations Co-ordination Board.

Article 77 of the constitution bars any appointed state officers from holding positions in a political party.

The officials said that it was curious that various statutory bodies, including the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, are still taking instructions from Mr Dzuya when it is in the public domain that he was appointed to a public office.

Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni said a total of seven members of Jubilee NEC have been appointed.

He claimed those appointed were part of individuals procured by the ruling party to rock Jubilee from within with a promise of state job.

Consequently, the NEC meeting instructed Embakasi West MP Mark Mwenje, who has replaced Ms Chege, to engage the minority leadership in kicking out Jubilee MPs leaning towards President Ruto from committees they sit in by virtue of being in the minority coalition.

Jubilee Vice Chairperson David Murathe said the MPs who have declared their support for Kenya Kwanza Alliance should be placed in parliamentary committees by the Majority coalition.

“Those people who were given committee positions were given courtesy of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition. We have told our Deputy Minority Whip to dewhip all those people from the committees. Let them be given committee seats within Kenya Kwanza,” said Mr Murathe.