Jubilee Party underwent a major shake-up on Monday as a section of its lawmakers sent packing their top officials in a resolution reached at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Nakuru.
The meeting, which was reportedly convened by MPs who had recently met with President William Ruto at State House Nairobi, decided to end the party’s relationship with the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party.
The decision to sever ties with Azimio and suspend three of the party’s officials came as a surprise for many, especially considering the Jubilee Party constitution mandates that the party leader, former President Uhuru Kenyatta, convenes such meetings.
However, the disgruntled members convened the meeting without their officials and made the unprecedented move to suspend the officials.
The new lineup saw East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Kanini Kega appointed as the acting Secretary General, replacing the suspended Jeremiah Kioni.
Meanwhile, Vice Chairperson David Murathe and National Treasurer Kagwe Gichohi were also suspended, with their positions filled by Eldas MP Adan Keynan and Kitui South MP Rachel Nyamai, respectively.
The current leadership led by Kioni and Murathe were quick to react to the move, calling it a bluff and claiming that the MPs’ actions amounted to a party coup. Kioni downplayed the statements released by the “Nakuru faction,” saying that the party constitution is clear on how to de-whip members and the leadership.
“Who has suspended me? Did they appoint me? Did they have to go to the State House to make these illegal changes? I was not appointed at State House,” Kioni stated when contacted after the Kanini-led team issued their statement.
Murathe was equally dismissive of the move, calling it nonsensical.
Kioni even went so far as to issue show cause letters to a number of MPs who had visited State House without the blessing of the party. The MPs are expected to face a disciplinary committee to explain their actions.
Those set to face disciplinary action include Kega, Keynan (Jubilee PG Secretary), Sabina Chege (National Assembly Deputy Minority Whip) and Senator Fatuma Dullo (Minority Whip). In a petition seen by cnyakundi.com, Kioni has tasked the four to respond to concerns raised by party members over their recent conduct.
The issues raised include acting in a manner disloyal to the Jubilee party, advancing positions contrary to the party, and demonstrating a lack of respect for party decisions and party organs.
The four have been notified of a petition forwarded to the party’s disciplinary committee for processing.
If the members make good on their threat, they could potentially lose their positions in parliament and their regional parliamentary seats, as Article 108 of the Constitution on party leaders states that there shall be the leader of the majority and a leader of the minority party.
The leader of the majority party shall be the person who is the leader in the National Assembly of the largest party or coalition of parties, and this also applies to the minority leadership of the second-largest party or coalition of parties.
If Jubilee bolts out of Azimio, they will automatically lose the privilege of the leadership slots in the House, departmental committees and EALA.
Currently, UDA is the largest party in parliament, followed by ODM, while Jubilee comes in as a distant third.
On Tuesday, President Ruto hosted over 30 Jubilee members drawn from the National Assembly and the Senate, and a State House dispatch confirmed that they were “back home,” affirming their total support for Kenya Kwanza.
The MPs are expected to officially decamp to Kenya Kwanza at an inter-denominational prayer service in Nakuru on Sunday.
The split in Jubilee Party comes as the opposition intensifies its anti-government protests and it remains unclear what direction the party will head in.
All eyes are now on retired President Uhuru Kenyatta to see his reaction to the matter.
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