The Nakuru County Assembly's move to de-whip 12 nominated female members from committee leadership positions has backfired.
Majority Leader Stanley Karanja and Majority Whip Irene Chebichi have been summoned to face the Jubilee Party Internal Disciplinary Resolution Committee in Nairobi on November 7.
Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju, in a letter to Mr Karanja, castigated the assembly leadership for flouting their Constitution.
“The Constitution is clear on attaining gender parity in leadership. The action is null and void and therefore the status quo remains,” Mr Tuju said in the letter copied to Speaker Joel Maina Kairu and the national chairperson of the National Gender and Equality Commission.
Mr Tuju further warned the Majority Leader and Chief Whip of dire consequences if they do not face the committee as ordered.
“Failure to abide by the stated instructions will lead to severe consequences,," he said, without indicating the disciplinary action that will be taken.
The Secretary-General also told the two that the party will not defend their illegal action should the commission decide to take disciplinary action against them.
In his rejoinder, Mr Karanja said the move to de-whip the nominated members of county assembly (MCAs) was adopted by the selection committee which is headed by the Speaker.
The assembly, which has 55 elected ward representatives, unanimously adopted the report.
“You cannot summon the majority leader or any elected MCA yet the decision to de-whip the nominated MCAs was taken by the whole assembly,” said Mr Karanja.
“In any case, the majority leader has only one vote in the assembly. Claims that I orchestrated their removal are in bad faith as they want me out.”
Mr Karanja further said the decision was constitutional.
“What the assembly did was rationalise committee leadership as some of the MCAs, both nominated and elected, were in as many as six committee positions,” he argued.
He added that the nominated representatives vied for the committee leadership positions and lost.
Mr Karanja also pointed out that he had not officially received the summons.
“I am wondering how the party headquarters is handling its communication matters because I am hearing that the summons is doing the rounds on the social media,” he said, noting that he will show up once there is official communication.
The 12 MCAs were removed from various committees on October 17, a step that caused uproar in the 78-member assembly.
They were nominated by Jubilee in line with the one–third gender top up requirement as per the Constitution.
Some of the nominated MCAs praised the party leadership for intervening.
“We were essentially reduced to flower girls. Some of us are more articulate on issues affecting the residents of Nakuru so the greedy assembly leadership was jealous of our success,” said one who requested anonymity.
“I had just settled down as a vice-chair of one of the committees and was preparing to table several motions when I was rudely removed," another said.
The nominated MCAs accused the assembly leadership of being insensitive to their plight.