Leaders in Azimio seeking to work with Ruto should pay a heavy price

When Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua hosted ODM MPs at his office on February 17, 2023. [DPCS]

Allow me the right to advise our President on matters that I have expertise in from now on. This is because he doesn't have time to always refer to the Constitution and legislation and because we both have an earned PhD, I know he appreciates, the hard truth and importance of decisions informed by data, research and the law.

Fidelity to the truth, courage and discipline are essential even when inconvenient. He also swore to defend our Constitution and the laws of Kenya; we need to help keep this oath.

He wants to unite us through our elected representatives; we should help him do so. Collaboration/cooperation in bipartisan politics does not require assimilation of elected leaders into Kenya Kwanza, or their resignation, or expulsion from the political parties that sponsored them.

In January 2022, the National Assembly introduced changes through the Political Parties (Amendment) Act, Number 2 of 2022 about when a member of a political party can be deemed to have resigned and be expelled.

The new section 14A provides that, a political party member is deemed to have resigned if s/he forms or publicly advocates or joins in formation of another political party or joins or promotes the ideology, interests or policies of another political party.

The political party before deeming a member to have resigned is required to notify him/her of this and that it intends to remove the member's name from its list.

The party is also expected to afford the member a fair hearing in accordance with its constitution. Thereafter, the party notifies the Registrar in writing of the member's resignation and requests the Registrar to remove his/her name from its member's register.

Upon the notification, where the Registrar is satisfied that the political party has complied with the procedure, should remove the member's name from the political party's register within seven days of the notification and notify the member in writing that s/he has ceased to be a member of that party.

However, where the Registrar is not satisfied that the party followed the removal procedure, she can refer the matter back to the concerned political party for reconsideration. Members do not resign if their party enters into a merger or a coalition with another political party.

Section 14B provides that a person may be expelled from a political party if that person contravenes any of the provisions of the constitution of the political party and, before expelling a member, the political party shall accord him/her a fair hearing in accordance with the internal party disputes resolution mechanism prescribed in its constitution.

The Registrar is obliged by the law under Section 34C to make changes to the records of political parties by removing resigned or expelled members. The concerned political party if dissatisfied with the Registrar's action or inaction may appeal to the Tribunal.

Since the political parties of elected representatives, the President seeks to work with have not merged with Kenya Kwanza, they require the go-ahead from their political parties to collaborate or they will all be deemed to have resigned and will be expelled and the Registrar notified to remove them from the records of the concerned political parties.

They will require to seek new mandates from their constituents in fresh by-elections as members of the Kenya Kwanza coalition or as independent candidates according to the law.

This is because, a person qualifies for election as president, governor, woman representative, or member of the National Assembly, Senate, or County Assembly if they are sponsored by a political party or vie as an independent candidate.

The President continually urges us to respect the rule of law, human rights and democracy.

This means cooperation and collaboration with leaders elected through other political parties, who are not members of Kenya Kwanza will require permission from their parties or they can go back and seek a fresh mandate from the electorate. That is the price of democracy.