UDF leadership woes deepen as planned NDC is cancelled
A Nationals Delegates Conference planned for October 24 by the United Democratic Front under the leadership of former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has been cancelled.
Making the announcement, UDF’s Secretary General Justus Kizito Mugali also said that a National Executive Council and the National Governing Council meeting that were also scheduled for Friday have also been cancelled.
UDF is currently embroiled in a leadership tussle pitting Mudavadi against suspended former chairman Osman Hassan.
The abortive NDC meeting had been convened to among other things review party policies for approval by the NDC, ratify the appointments made by the NEC, establish and review the powers and responsibilities allocated to the NEC officials, and establish branches and committees to carry out specialized duties for the party.
“Since the meeting to select party leaders and the presidential candidate, there hasn’t been any other meeting convened to discuss matters arising over time,” Kabatesi said in a phone interview with The Star.
The leadership tension played out in the media when Mudavadi’s private press secretary Kibusu Kabatesi said that the disputes committee had cleared Mudavadi as the party leader and barred Osman from the party’s management.
In a swift rejoinder however, Hassan a nominated MP under the party and nominated senator Martha Wangare denied that Mudavadi had been cleared as party leader and accused Kabatesi of misrepresenting facts.
Hassan said UDF’s constitution does not recognise the positions of party leader and deputy party leader, hence Mudavadi and his deputy Jeremiah Kioni are not UDF officials.
Kabatesi however dismissed the allegations around the party leadership and said that the issue before the tribunal is not on the leadership of the party in line with it’s constitution, but the suspension of Hassan who he added had acknowledged the existence of the party leader’s post.
Mudavadi’s quest for UDF’s leadership suffered a further setback when the parties tribunal declined to excuse itself from proceedings bedeviling the party on grounds that it lacks jurisdiction.
The Political Party Tribunal in a ruling it gave out on Friday said it has jurisdiction to hear and determine the dispute filed before it by the National Executive Council members. Mudavadi last month purported to suspend the top most organ members from the party.
The chairman of the tribunal Kyalo Mbuba and the vice Chacha Odera said the application by Mudavadi challenging their jurisdiction lacked merit as they were acting on a decision made by the registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndungu.
The tribunal further affirmed a letter from Ndungu stating that as of September 19, 2014 Hassan Osman was the chairman of the party and his other NEC members are only officials on record in terms of party political compliance.
The Registrar’s letter was produced before the tribunal to affirm that Osman, Nancy Gachoka vice-chair Nasir Maalim, David Amayo secretary general and other members has contained in the memo by Ndungu are the official NEC members of UDF.
The tribunal further thwarted an attempt by Mudavadi to have the proceedings stayed as he moves to the High Court to challenge the decision of the tribunal to disqualify itself from hearing g the dispute.
The tribunal ruled that if the UDF leader wanted the proceedings stopped he should do so through a former application to allow other lawyers in the disputes to respond.
The tribunal had found and held that the action to remove nominated MP Osman alongside the party’s NEC was unprocedural and unlawful.
It said the party leader ought to follow the laid down procedure in removing national officials as provided for in the party’s constitution.
The action by tribunal was caused by the application filed under certificate of urgency by Wycliffe Oyondi Okeo, Caroline Muthoni Boy and Pauline Achieng Abetto being acting chairman, secretary and women league and chairperson respectively.
The officials accused Mudavadi, former MP Jeremiah Kioni, Petronilla Were and Kassim Sawa of violating the party’s constitution by purporting to suspend them without following the law.
The aggrieved officials through their lawyer Hassan Lakicha told the tribunal that an order should be issued to restrain the registrar of political parties from acting and effecting the purported suspension, pending the hearing of the dispute before it.
The hearing before the tribunal will continue Tuesday.