Court cases halt Mudavadi party's bid to remove Godfrey Osotsi

Wednesday March 18 2020
G.Osotsi

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi during a press conference by Nasa coalition members at parliament buildings in Nairobi on July 25, 2018. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID MWERE

The Registrar of Political Parties has dealt politician Musalia Mudavadi's party yet another blow in the bid to kick out nominated member of parliament Godfrey Osotsi.

Registrar Ann Nderitu declined the request by Amani National Congress (ANC) in a letter dated April 10, citing ongoing court cases.

Consequently, Ms Nderitu summoned the party's officials for a consultative meeting in her office for deliberations on the matter.

“For that reason, and guided by the legal principle of sub judice, this office finds it fair and just to await the court’s determination and pronouncement on the cases before taking any action on this matter,” Mr Nderitu said in the letter.

WHAT HAPPENED

On March 19, ANC acting Secretary-Genera Barrack Muluka wrote to the registrar on the removal of Mr Osotsi’s name from ANC's register, citing allegations of misuse of the party’s funds when he served as secretary-general ahead of the 2017 general election.

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A similar letter was sent to Mr Michael Sialai, the Clerk of the National Assembly, who equally notified Mr Muluka of the ongoing court cases and the procedures involved before an MP loses a seat.

Before acting on the ANC request, Ms Nderitu demanded to be furnished with the requisite internal dispute resolution mechanism proceedings, which was to include correspondence between the party and Mr Osotsi.

She made the request on March 21 and was given the documents on March 26.

But on April 10, the registrar reminded the party that removing the MP from the register would be in violation of the sub judice rule based on the two cases pending in court.

EVIDENCE

It has also emerged that requisite documents may have not been filed as requested by the registrar, prompting her to summon the party for clarification on the evidence adduced.

Failure to furnish information as requested by registrar is an offence that can lead to deregistration of a party under section 45 of the Political Parties Act.

“That without prejudice, the office shall require a consultative meeting with the party, with the aim of seeking clarification on the internal dispute resolution and disciplinary procedure undertaken vis a vis the relevant provisions of your party constitution to ensure compliance with the parties’ Act,” Ms Nderitu said.

THE BATTLE

The removal of Mr Osotsi from ANC's register essentially means his loss of the nominated member of parliament seat.

The politician moved to the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) to contest his removal as the party’s secretary-general, saying it was irregular.

He also noted that the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting that "purported" to appoint Mr Muluka as his successor was not properly constituted and convened.

Although the PPDT granted his prayers and reinstated him, the ANC filed an appeal at the High Court.

Days later, Mr Osotsi’s lawyers made an application for a judicial review of the party’s processes involved in kicking him out.

THE LAW

The Constitution provides that if a party finds grounds to kick out a member, it should notify the registrar of its decision, attaching all the relevant evidence that includes minutes of the disciplinary committee as well as those of the NEC.

If the registrar agrees with the party, he/she shall proceed to strike out the name of the member.

In the case of an MP or member of county assembly, the registrar is required to notify the Speaker of the relevant House of his or her changed status.

The Speaker shall then declare the seat vacant and inform the electoral commission of the need to prepare for by-elections.