The Jubilee party juggernaut will hit its peak when the National Executive Council (NEC) meets any day from Thursday to firm up its position against rampant cases of indiscipline among its members.
The NEC meeting — which will also endorse changes made in the party’s parliamentary leadership as well as House committees — is dependent on the availability of the party leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The hard stance that the party is taking against disloyalty was evident yesterday when three senators who failed to attend the party’s meeting at State House two weeks ago defended themselves before the disciplinary committee.
Tuesday, Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju announced that the party’s reconstituted National Management Committee (NMS) will meet today to prepare the agenda that will be deliberated by the NEC.
“In the past we have been very generous to members. Going forward, we will not be taking disciplinary actions lying down,” Mr Tuju said at the party’ secretariat.
Interestingly, the composition of the NMS was vehemently fought by the party’s deputy leader William Ruto, a matter that is at the Political Parties Tribunal.
The besieged deputy leader has suffered broadsides from the party’s rank and file and his input in the upcoming NEC may be minimal.
In a bid to enforce discipline and deal with disloyalty Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata announced the removal of three Senate committee chairmen allied to Dr Ruto.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei was removed from the post of chairman of the Justice, Legal and Human Rights Committee, John Kinyua (Devolution) and Dr Christopher Lang’at (Education).
Immediately after the changes, Dr Lang’at said he had been sacrificed for being a staunch supporter of Dr Ruto.
“Since I became the chair no one has ever complained that I am not performing to warrant my removal, they have done it because of my relationship with DP Ruto,” Dr Lang’at said.
The NEC meeting will now pave the way for the party’s Parliamentary Group meeting to be held next Tuesday ahead of the resumption of the National Assembly’s sittings after a month-long recess.
The PG will also be dependent on the president’s diary.
During the PG members will be taken through the NEC resolutions on party discipline, its agenda in the National Assembly and Senate, the unveiling of the 2020/21 budget estimates in the second week of June and a raft of legal reforms including the proposed amendment of the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
The BBI steering committee is expected to produce a distilled copy of the report inaugurated on November 27, 2019, at the Bomas of Kenya. In distilling the report, the committee will recommend which areas require policy direction, administrative and legal action.
Only constitutional issues like expanding the executive to create the position of Prime Minister and two deputies, change of the system of government from the current presidential to parliamentary, among others, will be taken to the referendum.
“We will be taking such cases to the disciplinary committee as and when they emerge and pursue them to the logical end and within the law. When the whip tells you that this is the position of the party, it’s not upon you to choose what to do but abide. We want 100 percent loyalty within the party,” Mr Tuju said.
Those who misuse party facilities like stationary will also not be spared, with party deputy secretary-general Caleb Kositany on the spot after circulating a series of press releases bearing the party’s letterhead.
Mr Tuju said that acts of individuals showing party loyalty during election campaigns then changing immediately they are elected will not be tolerated.
The NMC meeting comes after the Jubilee party’s independent committee dismissed a case lodged by Mr Kositany and Senator Susan Kihika opposing the appointment of new officials.
Their grumbles came after Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Ms Anne Ndiritu on April 6, published a notice in the Kenya Gazette showing the Jubilee party’s intention to change its NMC officials.
Former Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati, Prof Marete Marangu, Ms Lucy Macharia, Mr James Waweru and Ms Jane Nampaso were picked.
Mr Tuju said that the committee dismissed the complaints after establishing that there was no compelling evidence to show that there was a violation of the Political Parties Act.
“We looked at the law and discovered that we do not need to gazette the new members to the NMC. This means that NMC starts work immediately,” Mr Tuju said.
Yesterday, the five nominated senators who failed to attend the PG at State House were taken through their defence by the party’s disciplinary committee chaired by lawyer Lumatete Muchai.
Those who appeared before the committee were Ms Mary Seneta, Ms Falhada Dekow and Ms Naomi Wako.
The committee, sitting at the party’s secretariat, is expected to conclude the matter after hearing from Ms Millicent Omanga and Mr Victor Prengei.
“The disciplinary committee is an independent entity that manages its time and calendar among others. The team summons whoever it wants to produce the required evidence. This is important so that the action we take is in line with the law and is not subject to challenge in court,” said Mr Tuju.
Mr Kang’ata was the complainant in the case against the five nominated senators. “Those who defy the party, disrespect the party leader will be punished in accordance with the law,” Mr Kang’ata said after testifying before the tribunal on why the senators should be punished.
The purge in Senate committees also saw Meru Senator Mithika Linturi removed from the powerful County Public Accounts and Investments Committee.
On Monday, National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi said that the opposition was holding discussions with the ruling party for committees to be led by both the majority and minority parties.
Nothing stops the minority to lead committees. In fact Standing Orders do not discriminate on who between the majority and minority should lead committees as long as they can get the backing of committee members.
House rules provide that committee chairs be picked by members hence the minority are often disadvantaged because they have fewer members.
Nominated Senator Alice Milgo is poised to reap the fruits of loyalty as she is primed to take over from Dr Langat as chair of the Committee on Education.
Ms Milgo is the vice chair of the labour committee. Uasin Gishu Senator Margret Kamar is poised to chair the committee on Devolution which was chaired by Mr Kinyua.
Reported by David Mwere, Ibrahim Oruko and Onyango K’onyango