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It’s business as usual for Isaac Mwaura despite axing from Senate

By Standard Team | May 12th 2021
Jubilee Party expelled Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The intrigues informing the axing of Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura from Senate played out on Tuesday after he was allowed by Speaker Ken Lusaka to vote, despite a Gazette notice on his removal.

The Gazette notice removing Mr Mwaura was dated May 10. However, a day later, he was in the Senate conducting House business as usual.

“It is notified for the information of the general public that pursuant to Article 103 (1) (e) (i) of the Constitution and section 37 of the Elections Act, the seat of the Member of the Senate elected under Article 98 (1) (d) of the Constitution and held by Hon. Isaac Mwaura Maigua became vacant, with effect from the 7th May, 2021,” read the Gazette notice signed by Lusaka.

Curiously, the Speaker seemed unaware of the Gazette notice before later acknowledging that he was the one who issued it.

Mwaura was nominated by Jubilee Party in 2017 and was serving his first term only to switch allegiance to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

He and colleagues Mary Seneta, Falhada Iman, Naomi Waqo, Victor Prengei and Millicent Omanga had appeared before the party’s disciplinary committee on two occasions where they faced charges of insubordination and misconduct.

They were expelled by the National Management Committee after members deliberated on reports submitted by the Party Disciplinary Committee over alleged gross violations of party rules.

But on May 6, the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) chaired by Desma Nungo declared their expulsion unlawful and contrary to Jubilee constitution.

A day later, however, the tribunal overturned its own ruling, dismissing the senator’s claims that the party had not furnished him with the charges leveled against him. 

The tribunal said the Jubilee disciplinary committee did not summon the senators, but instead they appeared before the party organ believing that the complaints against them had been dropped.

The PPDT, in its ruling, noted that it was unfair for the ruling party not to give the six an opportunity to defend themselves. 

The Elections Act is not clear on what happens in the event a nominated member’s seat becomes vacant. The law states that party lists submitted to the commission shall be valid for the term of Parliament.

The Act further observes that a party list submitted for such purposes shall not be amended during the term of Parliament.

Disciplinary hearings

Jubilee vice chair David Murathe yesterday told The Standard that they will follow due process during the next disciplinary hearings, and that the other five nominated senators will be given a fair hearing by the party’s disciplinary committee.

If Mwaura is axed from the Senate, former Senator Sam Leshore will take over his position given that he is second on Jubilee’s list.

Mwaura’s removal was the subject of debate in the Senate where legislators allied to the DP protested the decision by Lusaka to gazette the matter, citing court orders that barred him from taking any action.

Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Aaron Cheruyiot (Kericho) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi) termed the decision as a “travesty of justice and clampdown on the democratic space.”

The leaders said the court barred the Speaker from taking any action until May 20. Mr Cheruiyot asked Lusaka to inform the Senate why he took the decision in disregard of the court order.

Mr Cherargei termed Lusaka’s move “an affront to democracy”. “It is sad that we have to discuss our colleague. Mwaura had shown me a court order that is active until May 20,” he said.

“A big point of concern which I believe should be addressed before we proceed is Mwaura had a court order that, before today, had been served to your office. We are bringing in a copy here in the next few minutes. But I would ask that we don’t proceed until the issue is determined,” said Ms Kihika.

Siaya James Orengo said “one cannot choose which court orders to obey and which ones to ignore.”

“I have always pleaded that this House must obey court orders. If we want to be a nation of the rule of law, we have to obey court orders. Even this Wajir case has a court order. Some of you believe this House cannot be injuncted,” said Orengo.

He added: “Even during the Kanu rule, court orders were obeyed. We have to be consistent. We now have two sets of documents, a letter from a lawyer serving you. I have a lot of sympathy for Mwaura in court. The challenge is that you already have a Gazette notice, meaning you cannot recall your decision. “

But Lusaka said he had not seen the court order. “On Tuesday I will avail all the documents that led to that decision. Because there are also other pending petitions in my office where action has not been taken, and there must be a reason why action has not been taken.”

[Judah Ben-Hur, Jacob Ng’etich and Moses Nyamori]

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