National Assembly Speaker, Moses Wetangula, on Thursday, May 4, revealed that Azimio la Umoja committed an error that saw her position as the Deputy Minority Whip of the National Assembly (NA) retained.
Wetangula revealed that while Standing Orders dictate that Sabina Chege should be removed and replaced immediately, with the exercises conducted simultaneously, Jubilee and Azimio La Umoja had only pushed for Chege’s ouster, without announcing her replacement. He thus gave Azimio 30 days to resolve the issue of dewhipping her and revealing her replacement.
“The communication received from the minority party with regard to the replacement of Sabina Chege as the Deputy Minority Whip is incomplete and therefore does not comply with the requirements of standing order 20 (A) of the National Assembly standing orders. I hereby grant the Minority party a period of thirty days from today within which to convey appropriate communication of the replacement of its minority whip if it wishes,” Wetangula stated.
On if Sabina Chege could still be ousted as Deputy Minority Whip, Wetangula noted, “By the time the house resumes from recess, it is my expectation that my office shall be in receipt of the communication from the minority side replacing its minority whip if they so wish.”
The Speaker further agreed with National Assembly minority leader, Opiyo Wandayi that a Speaker had no powers to declare how a party can discipline its members but could only rule on the matter.
“In the case of party leadership in the house, the Speaker dictates what it is communicated by party officials and the status on the party (Jubilee’s) leadership is lingering,” he added, indicating that other constitutional bodies outside Parliament, such as the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties are mandated to handle such grievances.
“The Speaker cannot be called to mediate or act as an arbitrator in such matters,” he added.
Wetangula further instructed the Jubilee Party to put their house in order regarding the ouster of former President Uhuru Kenyatta as the party leader in 30 days as well.
“Whereas the Jubilee Party meets the threshold to be recognized as a parliamentary party pursuant to standing order 20 (A1), I am hesitant to invoke this provision given the myriad correspondence received from the party with respect to its leadership and persons authorized to communicate on its behalf to the speaker, I also give them a similar time to put their house in order,” he added.
Wetangula revealed that he had received a correspondence from the Jubilee Party notifying him of leadership changes within the party by East African Legislative Assembly MP Kanini Kega, which was also copied to the Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), regarding Chege controversially replacing Uhuru as the party leader.
Chege was appointed in surprising circumstances as Jubilee Party leader on Tuesday, May 2, through a statement made by Kega after a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.
“We have 28 members, and today we held a meeting comprising 22 members with 3 apologies; hence meeting the majority requirement.
“The NEC Committee resolved that Sabina will serve as the acting party leader until the time we convene a National Delegates Convention (NDC) where we will select the leader who will run the party moving forward,” Kega, whose Jubilee faction is allied to President William Ruto, stated then.
The appointment was thereafter rejected by embattled Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, who is leading the Jubilee faction allied to Uhuru, stating that “The Jubilee Party Constitution does not envisage a situation where a rebel group can evict a party leader from his position. The rebel group’s meetings in clandestine locations, the subsequent minutes and resolutions are null and void.”
How Sabina Chege Easily Kicked Out Uhuru
Chege on her part explained the intrigues of how she easily replaced Uhuru, accusing him during an Inooro TV interview of failing to guide the party as its leader and allowing splinter groups to form and wrestle control of the party.
“Uhuru did not come to give us direction as Raila did to his team. Kioni would often make the address and since he was not part of parliament, he repeated what Raila and Kalonzo stated. So there was a gap.
“We tried to reach out to him through text and phone calls to tell him what was ailing the party but he did not respond. We became a party without a leader,” she explained.
Sabina noted that the replacement began with Jeremiah Kioni (Secretary General), David Murathe (chairperson), and Kagwe Gichohi (Treasurer) after a meeting with a section of Jubilee members.
Kega had clarified that Uhuru was not ousted as the party leader per se but six months had elapsed since he handed over the reins of power to President Ruto.