Internal dispute rocks Jubilee party as April 28 meet invalidated

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta has faced a setback in his efforts to control the Jubilee party, as the internal dispute within continues.

The party's internal dispute resolution committee (IDRC) has nullified the special national delegates conference that took place on May 22, where rebel members were expelled. The committee also invalidated a national executive meeting held on April 28.

In its decision on Tuesday, the IDRC determined that Uhuru had violated the party's constitution by convening these two meetings.

"While the party leader has the power to summon any party organ at any time, the provisions of the party constitution regarding the convening of meetings for that party organ still apply," stated the IDRC, criticizing the former president for publishing notices of the two meetings.

The IDRC, chaired by Gideon Solonka, had previously suspended Uhuru's NDC orders last month, which the former head of state disregarded, using the conference held at Ngong Racecourse to assert his authority.

Nelson Dzuya, the beleaguered chairperson affiliated with East Africa Legislative Assembly lawmaker Kanini Kega's faction, lodged a complaint with the committee regarding the meetings.

Both meetings had resolved to expel the Kega-led Jubilee faction, which supports President William Ruto, from the party. Dzuya argued that the SNDC could not be considered valid as it had been decided in an "irregular" NEC meeting.

Jubilee Vice-Chairperson David Murathe dismissed the IDRC's decision, saying it held no significance.

"We do not recognise the members of the IDRC. They were removed in the NEC meeting chaired by the party leader," Murathe commented regarding the committee that seemed to favour Kega's wing and issued favourable rulings.

"We do not acknowledge the decision of the IDRC because we carried out a complete overhaul during the NEC meeting on April 28. They were directed to the NEC, but they did not attend. 

"We are pursuing legal action, and their decision is included in our application. We will exhaust the legal process to prevent them from taking over our party. We know the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties is being influenced by the Kenya Kwanza administration, which is why we are not only pursuing legal action but also invoking public opinion to stand against political interference, particularly Azimio's firm stance.

"The claim of lack of quorum for our NEC is baseless because our constitution mentions 21 members, and even if we were to remove the two (Maiyan Leshomo and Polycarp Hinga) that the RPP mentioned, the quorum would still be seven, which we had."

Members of Uhuru's faction have boycotted the IDRC's hearings, including Dzuya's case against the party leader.

The IDRC's ruling coincided with the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP), Anne Nderitu, refusing to ratify the resolutions made at Uhuru's delegates' conference. In a letter to embattled Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni, Nderitu stated that the documents he had submitted regarding the NDC were incomplete.

"After reviewing the submitted documents, this office is unable to address the substance of the resolutions due to the non-submission of required documents," Nderitu wrote in a letter dated May 29.

The aforementioned documents encompass a "properly signed attendance list with identification numbers to verify the composition of the NDC and ensure quorum" as well as detailed minutes of the NDC.

Murathe said the required documents from the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) will be provided.

The decision made by the RPP offers temporary relief to Kega and other members, including Sabina Chege, a Nominated Member of Parliament who was ousted on May 22. Chege is at risk of losing her position as the National Assembly deputy minority whip, which will be assumed by Mark Mwenje, the Member of Parliament for Embakasi West.

Kega's faction has achieved significant victories at the registrar's office, leading to calls for Nderitu's resignation due to allegations of bias by Azimio.

These victories include the registrar's determination that the NEC meeting held on April 28 did not have a quorum, a finding that the IDRC relied upon, as well as the endorsement of the expulsion of Kioni, Murathe, and Kagwe Gichohi (Treasurer).