Raila Odinga, William Ruto parties fight rebels within
Deputy President William Ruto’s URP, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ODM, Wiper Party of former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, and former Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi’s UDF are the most affected by internal wrangles and power struggles that have led governors, senators, MPs and MCAs to read from different scripts in their quest for supremacy.
On Monday, members of UDF — which is embroiled in a leadership battle between Mr Mudavadi, the party leader and 2013 presidential candidate, and Nominated MP Osman Hassan, the chairman — meet at their party headquarters in Nairobi in an attempt to resolve the impasse.
Other parties have been contemplating expelling errant elected representatives. ODM recently dropped its minority whip, Mr Gideon Mung’aro, accusing him of working too closely with the government. The position was given to Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu.
The decision has since divided the Coast region that voted overwhelmingly for Mr Odinga. Legislators in support of Mr Mung’aro felt that the party was unfair in its decision and some have started warming up to Jubilee.
The MPs said they would remain in Cord but were planning to form their own party ahead of the next elections.
The Registrar of Political Parties, Ms Lucy Ndung’u, Sunday said parties could use Article 103 of the Constitution and Section 14 of the Political Parties Act to expel MPs, MCAs and party officials. Ms Ndung’u said that once the internal party mechanisms had been used and her office notified, it only takes a few days for the decision to be upheld.
“Political parties can expel their members according to the laid down procedure. They have their own internal mechanisms in their constitutions through which they can notify us,” she said on phone.
Once this is done, such elected leaders lose their membership in the party and in effect, cease to hold their elective positions.
Among the leaders considered rebels are UDF Senators Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Martha Wangari (nominated) and Mr Hassan; a large grouping of ODM MPs from the Coast, led by Kilifi North’s Gideon Mung’aro as well as former Cabinet minister Dalmas Otieno from Nyanza.
Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery is among those viewed by ODM as a sympathiser of the ruling coalition. He is among leaders opposed to Cord’s calls for a referendum and has in the past stood with Jubilee on a number of issues.
MPs Ababu Namwamba (Budalang’i), John Waluke (Sirisia) and Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West) have also been accused of not supporting ODM, which sponsored them to Parliament.
In Wiper, rebellion is led by Governors Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Julius Malombe (Kitui) who have accused the party of failing to tame MCAs threatening them with impeachment.
In URP, Deputy President Ruto has to deal with the defiance of Governors Isaac Ruto (Bomet) and Paul Chepkwony (Kericho) and Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter.
Dr Khalwale Sunday said the party machinery must adhere to the Political Parties Act and the constitutional provisions spelling out how to deal with internal disputes.
He said that all UDF members in the National Assembly chose to work with the Jubilee Coalition after the General Election whereas senators chose to work with Cord.
“That does not mean we are in Cord,” he said.
But UDF Secretary-General Justus Kizito said the party cannot entertain members who contradict the party.
“UDF does not support the Okoa Kenya campaign and those suspected to be land grabbers,” said Mr Kizito.
Mr Musyoka, dared Wiper leaders not comfortable in the party to resign and seek a fresh mandate in other parties instead of wrecking the party from within.
In URP, the Bomet governor, who is also the Council of Governors chairman and Prof Chepkwony, have come under pressure to drop the Pesa Mashinani campaign which seeks to increase funding to counties. Some leaders asked Mr Ruto to resign.