Rival camps in county assemblies give Jubilee leaders sleepless nights

Mosop ward Member of county assembly Njenga Mwaura (center) falnked by Naivasha East MCA Samuel Waithiki (right) with other MCAs adressing the press after the county assembly members resolved to reinstate him has the Assembly leader of Majority on November 23,2015.Waithiki has been holding the position for almost a year after Mwaura was ousted .PHOTO:KIPSANG JOSEPH

Nakuru, Kenya - Disputes in the Jubilee coalition dominated county assemblies have ended up in court because there are no tribunals set to resolve the matter.

In his ruling upholding the decision by the Political Parties Tribunal to reinstate Mwaura Njenga as the Leader of Majority at the Nakuru County Assembly, Justice George Odunga noted that the coalition had not established an Internal Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

“Without evidence that there exist a remedy that covers the circumstances under which the dispute under consideration arose this court cannot find that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction by virtue of section 40(2) of the Political Parties Act,” he said.

Speaker Susan Kihika and Majority Leader Samuel Waithuki had moved to court to challenge the ruling by the Political Parties Tribunal arguing that it had no jurisdiction to preside over the matter. They claimed that the Tribunal had failed to recognise provisions for the Internal Party Dispute Resolution Mechanism within the Jubilee coalition, which would have dealt with the matter first.

Clause 8 of the Coalition Agreement between TNA and URP states thus: “All disputes arising from this coalition agreement or the coalition matters shall in the first instance be referred to the disputes resolution council. The council shall hear the dispute and shall deliver its decision within 30 days.”

Dismissed the application

Njenga (TNA) and his deputy Leah Serem (URP) were reinstated last week after the High Court dismissed the application challenging the ruling by the Political Parties Tribunal.

The Judge upheld the ruling by the tribunal which had declared a hotel meeting that engineered his removal illegal and invalid.

Justice Odunga also dismissed an argument that termed the tribunal’s decision irrational and biased.

“Whereas one may find it disagreeable that in itself does not elevate it to the level of irrationality,” he added.

Chaos erupted in the assembly in March after rival factions clashed following the Political Parties Tribunal Ruling.

TNA has threatened to take disciplinary action against MCAs who were involved in the scuffle.

In Nyeri, TNA MCAs last week defied a court order and the party warning to elect a majority leader.

Kabaru MCA Duncan Gituanja who is an ally of Governor Nderitu Gachagua was elected the majority leader to replace Jesse Kamuri.

Mr Gituanja garnered 20 votes to beat George Gichuki (Karima Ward) and Wamagana Ward rep Jesse Makuri who did not receive any votes.

In a letter to the party whip dated November 18, TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo had questioned the election procedure and urged the Chief Whip James Thieri to postpone the exercise.

“As a party we take great exception to the proposed manner of conducting elections. The office directs that the elections shall be held and supervised by this office,” stated the letter.

But Mr Thieri insisted he had not been served with the court order stopping the elections and said he had been given the go ahead by Mr Oloo to conduct the elections.

Nyeri High Court judge, Lady Justice Abigael Mshilla had directed Mr Kimuri to continue serving as the Majority Leader until the a case filed in court was heard and determined.

TNA efforts to intervene and resolve the wrangles at the Nakuru branch were futile after party national officials were accused of being biased.

In Nyandarua MCAs vowed to remove the Majority Leader Mwangi Gichuki and his minority counterpart after the Nakuru High Court dismissed a case they had filed seeking to retain their seats.

Instead Lady Justice Maureen Odero referred the case to the TNA and DP parties’ dispute resolution committees. Rurii Ward MCA Wahome Kamoche accused the two of incompetence. “They have failed the assembly and we want them out,” said Kamoche.

During a meeting with TNA Nakuru MCAs, Oloo noted with concern that the row between the rival camps was interfering with party operations

“We had serious and fruitful discussion and all members have accepted that the position of the party must be supported by all members. If the party decides its Mwaura then Waithuki must accept and I have pleaded with them personally that they obey the party position,” he said.