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No end in sight to party row as group disowns NDC decision

By Stephen Mkawale | October 28th 2014

Leadership wrangles in the United Democratic Front (UDF) party deepened after a splinter group disowned decisions made by the National Delegates Conference (NDC) in Nairobi.

The UDF officials led by Secretary General Abraham Kipkoech and his assistant Peter Karanja dismissed the NDC meeting.

"We are in possession of the list of delegates and other documents related to the party's activities and those claiming to be party officials are imposters," said Mr Kipkoech.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Political Parties Liaison Committee meeting held at Nakuru's Merica Hotel and attended by Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung'u, Kipkoech said the leadership issues were still pending in court and that there was an order for the status quo to be maintained.

"What happened in Nairobi today (Monday) is in contempt of court. The issues surrounding the leadership of UDF are pending in court and anybody purporting to hold a delegates' conference is in violation of a court order," he said.

On September 19, the High Court directed that the status quo be maintained in UDF until the matter before it was heard and determined.

Monday, a splinter group purported to have held the party's NDC that approved the expulsion of suspended party chairman Hassan Osman, replacing him with Webuye MP Alfred Sambu.

Gross misconduct

The meeting also purported to have expelled Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale from the party and suspended Martha Wangare, a nominated senator.

Musalia Mudavadi remains the party leader and former Kieni MP Jeremiah Kioni his deputy, according to the meeting's decision.

The delegates also unanimously agreed to rebrand the party Amani National Congress. They were forced to invoke the party's constitution to call the meeting after some officials went to court to block an NDC that should have been held last Friday.

When contacted for comment, Ms Wangare from Nakuru County laughed at the claims, saying those who had made the decision were not genuine party officials.

"Those are imposters who should not be taken seriously. The party's bona fide officials will soon meet to clarify the official position," she said by phone.

A faction that supports Mr Mudavadi is embroiled in a leadership row with Osman, who was suspended on allegations of gross misconduct.

Karanja said they were invited to the committee meeting by virtue of their being genuine leaders of the party.

"Party records are clear on who the bona fide officials are and that anyone challenging that should wait for the decision of the case pending in court," he said.

Osman had moved to the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal to challenge his suspension.

Ms Ndung'u refused to be drawn into the matter, saying she wanted to remain neutral on issues surrounding the management of political parties.

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