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Jubilee parties’ merger in final stages after passing of Bill

Sunday June 19 2016

Chairman of the steering committee on merger

Chairman of the steering committee on merger Kiraitu Murungi (centre) speaks during a past press briefing. The Jubilee merger process enters its penultimate stage this week as President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to sign the Political Parties Act (Amendment Bill) that will pave the way for dissolution of constituent parties. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WANJOHI GITHAE
By WANJOHI GITHAE
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The Jubilee merger process enters its penultimate stage this week as President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to sign the Political Parties Act (Amendment Bill) that will pave the way for dissolution of constituent parties.

The Bill was passed by the Senate on Wednesday effectively removing grey areas that had delayed the much touted merger.

On Saturday, the chairman of the steering committee on merger and Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi told the Nation that their attention now shifts to the launch of the party expected any time after next week.

“We are happy the Bill was passed by an overwhelming majority of senators. After President Uhuru Kenyatta signs it into law when he returns into the country, we shall hit the road running,” he said.

He said the committee meets Monday at the KCB training school in Karen to come up with a final document that will guide the nominations process as well as put the final touches on the merger instruments.

During the Monday meeting, the legal committee headed by TNA Secretary-General Mr Onyango Oloo will be presenting its final report on proposed party rules regarding merger process, nominations and elections.

“It is all systems go now. We await the President’s assent and Jubilee party will become a reality,” said Mr Oloo.

He said the national steering committee co-chaired by Senator Kiraitu Murungi and former minister Noah Wekesa has already been presented with the proposed constitution of the party. Party symbols will also be unveiled.

It is now expected that constituent parties will call for their national delegates’ conferences where they will be wound up.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have been drumming up support for the single party in their forays across the country.

The Political Parties (Amendment) Bill seals loopholes that could have exposed the president and his deputy to impeachment on the basis of being party-less.

“Where a party merges a member of the political party that has merged with another shall be deemed to be a member of the new political party,” the amendment says.

It goes ahead to give those elected under the umbrella of the old party - from the president to members of the county assemblies - the option of joining another party or serving as an independent member.

It will also not be possible for another person to use the colours and symbols previously associated with the dissolved parties.

“Where parties have merged and are dissolved, the particulars including their names, symbols, logos, slogans and colours shall be removed from the register of political parties and (they) shall not be available for registration by any person as a political party in the subsequent election following the merger,” the Bill states.

Mr Kenyatta and his deputy were reportedly frustrated with the committee tasked to oversee the merger of their parties after it failed to meet a December 31, 2015 deadline to have everything in place.

Some of those uncomfortable with the creation of a large party are worried about its internal democracy.