Azimio fights to save Jubilee amid onslaught

At the heart of these battles is an attempt to take over Jubilee, kick out its officials including Uhuru and drag the party out of Azimio into the waiting arms of President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance. The ultimate aim will be to deliver Jubilee MPs to the government side and boost its numbers in Parliament.

Last Wednesday, the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Anne Nderitu had approved the legality of Jubilee's National Executive Council (NEC) meeting that resolved to suspend Kioni, National Vice Chairperson David Murathe and National Treasurer Kagwe Gichohi - all Azimio allies. The same meeting okayed Jubilee's cooperation with UDA.

Yesterday Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) temporarily threw the spanner into the works when it suspended the changes until the case is determined.

The tribunal in its orders signed by the chair Desma Nango directed RPP Nderitu not to effect any changes in Jubilee until the application filed by Kioni and Murathe's lawyer Jackson Awele is heard and determined.

Following the tribunal's decision, Azimio leaders Raila (ODM), Martha Karua (Narc Kenya), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Jubilee Secretary General and other members made their way to the Jubilee headquarters in Nairobi where they spoke of coup attempts within the party. "When the first attempt was officially made, there was an attempt to open Jubilee Asili. Those efforts have not ceased," said Kioni.

In the case before the tribunal, the officials sued Nderitu and roped in party deputy secretary general Joshua Kutuny as an interested party.

Awele argued that Kutuny had no powers to execute Kioni's roles adding that the members, who ratified the decision to kick him out alongside Murathe jumped the gun. He asserted that the NEC has no powers to hear complaints against any member of the party.

"The principle that the Registrar is not simply a conduit but a critical player in determining whether decisions communicated to her office have complied with the law is now well anchored in our decisional laws. In so doing, it has been held the duty is not merely to rubber stamp decisions of political parties or their institutions," argued Awele.

Murathe in his supporting affidavit argued that he was unaware of any notice to convene NEC meeting. He averred that he was also not aware that there was any complaint against him or the reasons why he was suspended.

"It is accordingly evident that my legal rights and legitimate expectations as a bona fide office holder have as a result of the respondent's negligent actions and omissions in the discharge of her statutory mandate been grossly violated and risk further violation if the illegalities complained of are not immediately remedied by the interim reliefs sought," said Murathe.

At the same time, Kioni, in his supporting affidavit, contended that he learned through various social media postings that Kutuny had convened the NEC meeting and decided to kick them out and join the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

He said the Jubilee changes were a well-planned coup where those who were thrown out were not given a hearing.

"The respondent (Nderitu) has the solemn duty of safeguarding the public interest of party members by ensuring compliance with the law and the party constitution before ratifying a decision as adverse as the suspension of bonafide officials of the party in such a cavalier manner. She failed to do so and thereby perpetuated illegality," Kioni said.

Raila defended the embattled secretary general and accused the Kenya Kwanza of launching an "all-out assault" on the country's democracy.

"There is an all-out push by the Kenya Kwanza regime to kill other parties, buy and co-opt Members of Parliament into its ranks and intimidate and bully all those that resist the administration's illegal, unconstitutional and anti-democratic maneuvers," he said.

In another rebellion against the government, Azimio senators stormed out of the Senate chambers yesterday calling for the removal of Speaker Amason Kingi for failing to effect the removal of Jubilee's Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo as Minority Whip who was replaced with Narok Senator Ledama Ole kina.