The Jubilee party has told the High Court that it has no jurisdiction to hear and determine a case filed by ousted Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Majority Whip Susan Kihika opposing their removal from the Jubilee Party Senate leadership last week.
In filed case documents, Jubilee said that the law requires that the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator and his Nakuru counterpart exhaust internal political party dispute resolution mechanisms established under the Political Parties Act.
According to Jubilee, with the dispute being between members of a party and the said political party, the Political Parties Tribunal (PPDT) has clear constitutional provisions as well as statutory jurisdiction to handle the case.
“Judicial proceedings will be instituted only as the last resort and even then, such proceedings would be lodged before the PPDT and not this honourable court,” said their lawyer Njoroge Regeru.
The duo had moved to court last week while seeking to suspend the decision that saw them ousted from the said positions.
Mr Murkomen and Ms Kihika protested their removal arguing that the presence of Kanu members in the parliamentary group meeting that elected West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio and his Murang’a counterpart Irungu Kang’ata to replace them, lacked sufficient quorum to do so.
They also argued that the Kanu-Jubilee post-election deal was null and void as it had not been sanctioned by the ruling party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
While challenging the manner in which they were ousted from the key posts, they are pointing an accusing finger at Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.
But the High Court twice, before Justice Weldon Korir and Justice James Makau, declined to grant them any temporary reprieve.
However, PPDT suspended implementation of the disputed Kanu deal which the Registrar of Political Parties confirmed on May 8.
The duo want the court to determine the question on whether a non-member of the Jubilee party can participate to remove the Majority Leader and Whip.
They also want it determined whether communication to the Speaker emanated from the relevant office in accordance with Standing Orders.
They further want the court to look at why the Speaker only acknowledged receipt of the order from the PPDT yet proceeded to have them replaced.
But Jubilee has insisted that for Mr Poghisio and Mr Kang’ata to be removed, their right to fair administrative action should be exercised and that the suit deserves to be struck out.
Jubilee also claimed that there is nothing to be suspended as the deal has already taken effect hence describing the suit as premature, mischievous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process since there is a similar matter before the PPDT.
“No order can be issued to affect and purport to remove the current office holders who are not parties to the suit without affording then an opportunity to be heard,” said Mr Regeru.
The case will be mentioned on June 11.