20 politicians risk losing seats after defection

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Bungoma LeadersOver 20 elected leaders are in danger of losing their seats following a directive by the Registrar of Political Parties to be furnished with a list of “party rebels” for disciplinary action.

The Registrar, Mrs Lucy Ndung’u, has asked political parties to furnish her office with a list of errant members so that she forwards it to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to commence the process of declaring their seats vacant.

“If a political party takes a decision to mean that a person has resigned by propagating the ideals of another party, my office is ready to do its job.

We will communicate to the electoral commission to complete the punishment,” said the registrar Ms Lucy Ndung’u.

The Registrar is relying on Section 14 of the Political Parties Act, which states that “a person is deemed to have resigned from his party if he forms, sells ideals, interests and policies of another party notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law.”

Resigning from a political party in this context means losing one’s seat, and having to go through a by-election.

KICKED OUT

Should the Registrar have her way, over 20 elected leaders who include governors, senators, MPs and ward representatives, risk being kicked out of their parties and forced to face by-elections.

They include governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, MPs John Waluke (Sirisia), Johanna Ng’eno (Emurua Dikirr), Samuel Arama (Nakuru West), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Mpuru Aburi (Tigania East) and Stephen Kariuki (Mathare).

Others facing similar fate include Masoud Mwahima (Likoni), Gideon Mungaro (Kilifi North), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Mustafa Idd (Kilifi South), Peter Shehe (Ganze), William Kamoti (Rabai), Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale Woman rep), Ben Washiali (ODM) and Joash Maangi (ODM).

Dr Mutua, though elected on a Wiper ticket, has openly denounced the party and formed a new movement called Maendeleo Chap Chap while Mr Ruto has equally denounced URP and formed Mashinani Development Party ahead of the next General Election.

West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin has also declared he will work with the Jubilee party while denouncing his party Kanu.

Dr Khalwale long broke ranks with the United Democratic Forum (UDF) and closely associates with ODM.

ODM MPs who have rebelled and announced their intention to join Jubilee Party include Mr Onyonka, Mr Arama, Mr Kariuki, Mr Mung’aro, Mr Mwahima, Mr Aburi, Mr Iddi, Mr Kamoti, Ms Chidzuga and Mr Waluke.

‘POACHING’

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) has openly accused the Jubilee government of using ill-gotten money to “poach” its members.

The Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has also accused the Jubilee administration of poaching MPs allied to him.

Ms Ndung’u stated that her office could do little to force the “rebels” lose their seats if political parties do not apply the law to discipline errant members.

Various political commentators Saturday Nation spoke to said that though the law was available to discipline errant members, political parties had failed to apply it.

Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta, the vice-chairman of the National Assembly Legal Affairs Committee, agreed that political parties had failed.

“This buying of people to political parties is an old and outdated culture. We need discipline and loyalty to sponsoring parties.

Opposition parties claim that the government is poaching its people but are not bold enough to crack the whip and expel them,” said Mr Kenta.

He added: “The more political parties allow these irresponsible and disloyal members to propagate the ideals of other parties and they go unpunished, the more rampant this case of impunity is.”

‘REBEL MPS’

Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando dismissed claims that Jubilee was buying MPs from the Opposition, saying that it was saving them from what he said was a sinking Cord ship.

“Jubilee is not fishing; it is Cord that is losing. People have a right to find a shade against the scorching political heat. They are welcome into Jubilee,” said Mr Kabando.

Senior Counsel Nzamba Kitonga who chaired the team that drafted the Constitution 2010 accused the “rebel” MPs of taking advantage of the laxity by political parties to enforce the law to jump ship.

“The trick they use is that they don’t declare that they have moved from one party to another. They just move around with the other party and nothing can be done,” said Mr Kitonga.

But he warned: “When the law is not clear, a political party should force their members to say whether they have moved and take action against them. It’s the only way to stop the party-hopping.”

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