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Speaker Muturi rules against declaring seats vacant as more MPs defect

By Moses Nyamori | Mar 23rd 2022 | 3 min read

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi at Parliament buildings, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has ruled out declaring as vacant seats of MPs who have ditched their sponsor parties in a major reprieve for allies of Deputy President William Ruto.

Muturi cited a ruling by High Court Judge Joel Ngugi that ordered speakers of all county assemblies not to declare seats of ward representatives who switched parties vacant.

The pronouncement by the Speaker comes amid a mad rush by thousands of aspirants to defect to new outfits just 48 hours before the window for party hopping closes.

Individuals seeking to run as party candidates are required to join their preferred outfits by March 26, meaning they have two days to jump ship ahead of the August 9 polls.

Already, several political parties have started submitting lists of their registered members to the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP).

On Wednesday, Tiaty MP William Kamket sought the guidance of Muturi on the legal requirement that elected leaders to lose their seats by ditching their sponsor parties.

“I seek your guidance on a matter of public knowledge relating to the alignment of members to various political factions following the requirement of the resignation of candidates for nominations by various political parties which are coming up next month?” posed Kamket.

“Section 14(a) of the Act provides for the deeming provision on resignation which includes that a member shall be deemed to have resigned if the member, among other things, joins in the formation of another political party or joins another political party,” he added.

But in his response, Muturi said that the injunction by Judge Ngugi applies to members of the National Assembly who have ditched their sponsor parties.

The Speaker further revealed that none of the MPs had written to the clerk of the National Assembly of their decision to defect.

Elected leaders are required to notify their sponsor parties and clerk of various assemblies before defecting to new outfits.

“Nobody has written to me to show that he has resigned. Why should I take the role of the investigator? And as a House of records we should also take judicial notice of an order issued by High Court Judge Joel Ngungi,” he added.

“Just hold your horses, relax, just compete with each other like any other So nobody should do anything like expelling a member just because you have assumed some new office,” he told the House.

Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu told The Standard that her office will provide details of the total number of elected leaders who have jumped ship after the window elapses even as it emerged that 178 MPs have ditched their sponsor parties.

They include 23 senators, 25 woman reps, and 130 members of single constituencies. The majority of the MPs are allies of Deputy President William Ruto, who have defected from the ruling Jubilee Party to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Others have defected from Raila Odinga-led ODM and Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC), mostly to the newly formed Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) linked to Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

ODM has lost Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri who joined DAP-K while ANC lost nominated Godfrey Osotsi to ODM.

Others who have ditched ANC include Ayub Savula (Lugari), Christopher Aseka (Khwisero), Oku Kaunya (Teso North), Tindi Mwale (Butere) and Titus Khamala (Lurambi)

Senator George Khaniri (Vihiga) has ditched ANC for Cyrus Jirongo’s United Democratic Party.

Last week, Sirisia MP John Waluke, Turkana Woman Rep Joyce Emanikor, Turkana East MP Mohammed Lokiru and Turkana South MP James Lomenen ditched UDA for Jubilee.

Nearly 100 MPs have abandoned Jubilee for UDA. Majority of MPs from Rift Valley elected on Jubilee have joined UDA. Several others from Mt Kenya region have also left President Uhuru Kenyatta for DP Ruto.

Some of the notable figures outside Rift Valley are Garissa Township MP Aden Duale, Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and Alice Wahome (Kandara).

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