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Wetangula faction publishes list of Ford Kenya officials as rivals protest

WESTERN
By Judah Ben-Hur | November 8th 2021

Ford Kenya Leader Moses Wetangula during the Party's delegates conference at Bomas, of Kenya, on Thursday, November 4, 2021. [Samson Wire, Standard].

Ford Kenya faction led by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula has published a list of new officials in the dailies, further deepening the wrangles in the party.

The move is intended to reinforce the senator's faction as the legitimate officials of the party.

The list has among others Wetang'ula as the party leader, Millicent Anyango Abudho (Deputy party leader), Chris Mandu Mandu (National organising secretary), Chrisantus Wamalwa Wakhungu (Secretary general) and Nasri Ibrahim Salal as the national treasurer.

This comes days after the National Delegates Conference (NDC) endorsed the senator as the party’s presidential flag bearer.

The NDC came less than 24 hours after Wetang'ula moved to the High Court on Wednesday last week and succeeded to overturn a ruling by the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) restraining both factions of Ford Kenya - one allied to him and another to Kadunyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi- from convening the NDC.

The faction led by Wamunyinyi had planned to convene the NDC on November 6.

The successful execution of NDC is a major win for Wetang'ula who has battled infighting within the party which almost dislodged him as the party leader.

Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu allied to the Wamunyinyi camp, argues that the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case when the legal channels through the PPDT have not been exhausted.

“The elections are less than 10 months away and we haven’t even gotten a hearing for the case. Justice Asike Makhandia also recused himself from the case which was supposed to be today on grounds of a close relationship with the party, why did he have to wait till today?” said Dr Eseli.

According to the Political Parties Act, 2011, disputes within political parties are to be determined expeditiously and a decision from the tribunal shall be “enforced in the same manner as a decision of a magistrate court”.

Eseli has accused Wetang'ula of forum shopping for a friendly court to frustrate the party leadership changes initiated by Wamunyinyi.

The rival faction is waiting for the Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) to evaluate the NDC convened by the Wetang'ula faction and determine whether it contravened court orders, followed the law, or had legitimate Ford Kenya delegates.

“Majority of those who attended the NDC were not genuine delegates,” said  Eseli.

The Tongaren MP said if they do not get a favourable response from the ORPP, they will go back to the tribunal and appeal the outcome.

“They can go ahead and publish the names and even appoint a leader but we are waiting for the outcome from the registrar and the tribunal,” said Eseli.

In June last year, the faction led by Wamunyinyi stage a coup in Ford Kenya to oust Wetangula as the party leader over claims of gross misconduct. The group won round one after the RPP formally gazetted the senator's removal as party leader and the national organising secretary Mandu.

Two months later, after Wetangula got a conservatory order from the High Court, the gazette notice was recalled paving the way for him to remain at the helm of the Lion party.

“If you have the recklessness and audacity of purporting to stage a coup, you must be ready to succeed or you’ll be dead on arrival,” said the senator during the NDC last week.

“There is only one Ford Kenya. Any other Ford Kenya that is not here today is not our party,” said the new director of elections, Khadija Mustaffa.

Even though the road ahead seems bright for Wetang'ula, the battle for the party’s leadership is still far from over as the case awaits the PPDT verdict.

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