Wetang’ula seeks to tighten grip on party using officials

Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang'ula addresses journalists in Nairobi on August 17, 2020. 

Photo credit: dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • It emerged that Mr Wetang’ula had moved simultaneously to the Political Parties Tribunal and the High Court to obtain orders to stop the NDC.
  • The parties registrar in a letter dated November 18 asked the two factions to obey the court orders.

After being stunned by an attempted coup in his party, Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula is meeting grassroots officials ahead of the upcoming National Delegates Convention (NDC).

The Bungoma Senator yesterday met with party officials from Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties, amid fears of losing the party to the faction led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi.

According to sources at the meeting in an Eldoret hotel, Mr Wetang’ula asked them to rally behind him during the next NDC. Led by Uasin Gishu chairman James Omito, the officials pledged their support.

“After the meeting with the party leader, we have agreed to elect new leaders,” said Mr Omito. Plans are in the top gear to ensure that the delegates meet before the end of the year to revamp the party ahead of the 2022 polls by electing national officials.

“We want urgent steps taken to ensure that we hold an NDC to conclude the elections which we started at the grassroots levels. We had set March 25 as the date for the NDC, but the outbreak of Covid-19 forced us to call it off,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

“Now that things are coming back to normal, we want to bring our delegates together in a NDC to elect national officials,” he added.

Remain United

He said the NDC would help resolve the issues facing the party, accusing Mr Wamunyinyi and Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu of trying to steal the party from the members using a coup.

“All these great leaders have agreed without any doubt that Ford Kenya must remain united,” he said.

Mr Wetang’ula also revealed plans to open party offices across the country to give it a national outlook. This comes after Mr Wamunyinyi's faction’s plans for an NDC meeting slated for last Saturday were stopped by the Registrar of Political Parties.

It emerged that Mr Wetang’ula had moved simultaneously to the Political Parties Tribunal and the High Court to obtain orders to stop the NDC.

“The High Court issued an order stopping the NDC and, with this in hand, Wetang’ula’s team withdrew the other cases in the tribunal,” said Mr Simiyu, noting that they have appealed against the order.

In a letter dated November 19,Mr Simiyu urged members and supporters to exercise patience and  remain calm until the matter is resolved for them to exercise what he described as inalienable rights to elect national officials.

Court orders

The parties registrar in a letter dated November 18 asked the two factions to obey the court orders.

“This office is cognizant of the court orders emanating from the highlighted court matter. The ORPP is bound to operate within parameters set under the law which includes adherence to court orders, as a result, decisions by either of the parties that contravene court orders have no legal effect,” reads the letter in parts.

At the same time, Mr Wetang’ula has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta and his ‘Handshake’ partner Raila Odinga to use the window provided by the cancellation of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) signature drive to build consensus.

The senator is the latest leader to join Deputy President William Ruto’s camp and the churches who are pushing for consensus.

He said that,if the collection of signatures was halted to incorporate the views of the dissenters, it was the right decision.

Mr Wetang’ula said that there is no group which is superior than others when it comes to woes ailing the country.

“If the postponement of that event was meant to continue seeking and generating greater consensus, it is a good thing. There is no view that is inferior to the other,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

He added that institutions like the church cannot be ignored during this constitutional moment, and their views have to be contained in the final report.

“If we have respected institutions such as the Catholic Church warning us that we are headed in the wrong direction, we are duty-bound to listen to them,” he said.

Additional reporting by Brian Ojamaa onyangooluoch85@gmail.com

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