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The warring factions in former ruling party, Jubilee, have each rushed to the Registrar of Parties Anne Nderitu to settle the escalating leadership row, with each side seeking to kick out the rival camp.
Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta-led faction has written to the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) seeking to have nominated MP Sabina Chege – who was installed by the rival camp as acting party leader –and East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Kanini Kega, to be deregistered as Jubilee members.
Mr Kenyatta has accused the duo of contravening the party constitution by promoting ideologies of President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA). The two have also been accused of staging a coup against the party leader in total violation of the constitution of the outfit.
This latest move is part of Mr Kenyatta’s efforts to revoke the nominations of Mr Kega to EALA and Ms Chege to the National Assembly. This process is, however, tedious with several appeal mechanisms.
Mr Kenyatta is facing strong internal rebellion, with his former allies joining forces to kick him out of the party just the same way he kicked out Dr Ruto from the outfit they jointly formed for their re-election in 2017.
Similarly, the Kega-led team wrote to Ms Nderitu informing her of its decision to oust Mr Kenyatta and have him replaced with Ms Chege.
In a letter dated May 4, 2023 and received by the ORPP yesterday, Mr Kega told the office that the former President also stood suspended from the outfit that propelled him to a second term in 2017.
The camp that has declared its support for President Ruto named Ms Chege as acting party leader during a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Tuesday.
The Kega faction cited Section 6(1) of the Presidential Benefits Act, 2003, which bars a retired President from holding any office in a political party for more than six months after leaving office.
Mr Kenyatta handed over power to President William Ruto on September 13, 2022.
Mr Kega’s camp has also accused Mr Kenyatta of gross misconduct and plans to drag him before the Jubilee disciplinary committee for contravening the party’s constitution.
“The manner in which the party leader conducted himself in issuing notices for the NEC and NDC meetings was improper and constituted misconduct on his part,” Kega said in the letter.
He added, “Accordingly, the party leader, as a member of the party, is hereby suspended and the matter of his misconduct is hereby referred to the National Disciplinary of the party for their further action.”
But Mr Kioni dismissed the letter as non-consequential since the party leader has the overall authority over all party organs, adding that the “party constitution does not envisage a situation where a rebel group can evict a party leader from his position.”
He said that they would proceed with the scheduled special National Delegates Convention for May 22 that Mr Kenyatta seeks to use to regain control of the former ruling party that he formed by collapsing 14 others.
In his letter to Ms Nderitu, Mr Kioni said that the Kega-led camp has created a non-existent position of “acting party leader” making their resolutions null and void. He said that Jubilee has the position of deputy party leader that would ordinarily act in the absence of the party leader.
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“That Sabina Wanjiru Chege has violated the Jubilee Party Constitution by usurping the powers of the National Delegates Conference by creating a non-existing position of the ‘Acting Party Leader,’ a preserve of the National Delegates Conference,” the letter states.
Mr Kioni further stated that Ms Chege violated the party’s constitution by purporting to dislodge and overthrow the party leader without due process.
“We hereby request you to accordingly strike her name from the register of our members and notify us therefrom. Kindly take further notice that this notification has been served to you by my dint of being the Secretary-General and as a Member of Jubilee Party,” said Mr Kioni.
But Deputy Secretary General Joshua Kutuny told Saturday Nation that Mr Kioni’s request was likely to be declined by the ORPP. Mr Kutuny argued that a member can only be expelled after being subjected to an internal dispute resolution mechanism.
“You cannot just write to ORPP to deregister a member. If a party has a problem with a member it has to first hear them through the provided internal mechanism. It would definitely be declined.”
Even as the power struggle between the two camps played out, a founding member of the outfit yesterday wrote to the ORPP seeking confirmation of names of the current party officials.
Former nominated MP Hassan Osman, through Hassan and Lakicha advocates, particularly wants the office to provide names of the party’s National Management Committee members.
The former lawmaker is further demanding for certified copies of the audited accounts of the party for the fiscal years 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/2020, 2020/21 and 2021/22.