By JUDY OGUTU
Eldoret North MP William Ruto and four others have opposed a move to amend a petition seeking to strip them of their parliamentary seats.
Dujis MP Aden Duale has in a sworn statement, sworn on his behalf and that of the four, said the application by Orange Democratice Movemnet ( ODM) members Mpuru Aburi and Kepher Odongo to amend their petition is a gross abuse of the court process.
Aburi and Odongo moved to court last July seeking to strip Ruto and company party membership and parliamentary seats.
In the affidavit filed in court on June 28, Mr Duale says his advocate Kioko Kilukumi advised him the petition filed on July 20, 2011 was fatally defective since “it was among other grounds premised on Article 103 of the Constitution, which is suspended until after the first General Election under the new Constitution.”
The petitioners claim the rebel MPs, Ruto, Isaac Ruto, Joseph Kutuny, Duale and Charles Keter, have abandoned the party and joined the United Democratic Movement in contravention of the Constitution. Also sued is the Attorney General.
“The respondents have publicly and in various fora declared that they have quit and are no longer members of ODM. They have declared to have joined or taken over the United Democratic Movement (UDM),” the two said in the petition filed by lawyer Cecil Miller.
They claim that the five rebel MPs publicly recruited members to join UDM and have also supported their rival, the Party of National Unity, in issues which ODM has taken a contrary position.
Claim MPs defected
Aburi and Odongo claim the MPs have effectively resigned and defected from ODM yet they continue to hold the office of MPs, having been sponsored by ODM in the 2007 General Election and continue to draw remuneration from public funds.
They want the court to declare their parliamentary seats vacant in accordance with the Constitution.
“The respondents are holding the offices of MPs illegally by virtue of the operations of Article 103 of the Constitution as read with Section 17(4) of the Political Parties Act 2007,” Miller said in the petition.
When the matter came up before Justice Mumbi Ngugi Wednesday, Miller sought for more time to file a further affidavit. The court allowed his application. The case will be mentioned on July 20.