The political lives of Coast MPs Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), who are allied to Deputy President William Ruto, are hanging by a thread after the Orange Democratic Movement’s National Executive Council (NEC) recommended their expulsion from the party on account of indiscipline.
The ODM has accused Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori of advancing the interests of another party by openly campaigning for the Deputy President to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta when he retires in 2022.
On Thursday, ODM deputy party leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya chaired a NEC meeting in Nairobi at which he directed Minority Whip Junet Mohamed (Suna East MP) to immediately remove the two from all committees by notifying House Speaker Justin Muturi.
However, ODM’s National Governing Council (NGC), which is scheduled to meet early next month, will have to ratify the NEC resolution.
Party leader Raila Odinga chairs the NGC, which includes all branch chairpersons.
Should the NGC ratify the decision, the MPs will automatically lose their seats in Parliament, once ODM notifies the Registrar of Political Parties, who will be required to remove their names from the party register and notify Mr Muturi of the MPs’ changed status.
The Speaker will then issue writs declaring their seats vacant.
But before this happens, the MPs will have a chance to exhaust all the appeal mechanisms available before the courts of law.
Kilifi North MP Owen Baya is the only NEC member who voted against the decision. He said the two had not been given a proper hearing.
Yesterday’s decision ratified a resolution of the party’s disciplinary committee, chaired by Mr Fred Athok, to expel the two MPs and six members of the Homa Bay and Busia County Assemblies.
The report was presented on December 4, 2018.
The Homa Bay MCAs were accused of violently ejecting the Speaker from office despite an advisory from the party, and were later charged in court.
Yesterday, the NEC, on the advice of Mr Odinga, could not proceed before giving the accused politicians a chance to be heard.
As they were called in one by one to show cause why they should not be expelled from the party, it was clear that the party was ready to flex its muscle.
“These leaders were accorded adequate time to defend their positions in line with recommendations made by the disciplinary committee in a report which was presented to the NEC,” party secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said.
Article 103 of the Constitution states that a person who promotes the ideology, interests or policies of another political party other than the one that sponsored the member to the House shall be deemed to have resigned from the previous political party.
Expulsion of the MPs would mean the loss of their positions from the various House committees.
For instance, Ms Jumwa is a member of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), which caters for the welfare of MPs and staff, where she draws a lucrative sitting allowance.
She also benefits from an enhanced medical cover, besides sitting in the Services and Facilities Committee.
Mr Dori, who is also the Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG) chairman, is a member of the Transport, Public Works and Housing committee.
Addressing journalists after appearing before the NEC, the two MPs questioned the integrity of the report recommending their removal on grounds that ODM did not have a properly constituted disciplinary committee.
They blamed Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho for their tribulations. “This is the first chance we have been given to be heard. I have not appeared before any disciplinary committee of the party previously,” Ms Jumwa said.
“We only appeared before an individual (Mr Athuok) and it took about two minutes. He is, therefore, not the disciplinary committee,” she said.
“I don’t recognise the purported report because my party leader and the entire Central Management Committee (CMC) he chairs were misled. In the spirit of handshake, who can’t forgive us? Everything is water under the bridge,” the Malindi MP said.
Mr Dori said he had no issues with his party or its leadership and that their appearance before NEC was an indication that he is committed to the party.