Azimio Blunder Saves Sabina Chege From Losing Minority Whip Role

Nominated Member of Parliament Sabina Chege speaking during a workshop on Tuesday April 25, 2023
Nominated Member of Parliament Sabina Chege speaking during a workshop on Tuesday April 25, 2023.
Sabina Chege

National Assembly Speaker, Moses Wetangula, on Thursday, May 4, revealed Azimio La Umoja's blunder that saw Sabina Chege retain her deputy minority whip role.

Wetangula indicated that while Standing Orders dictate that Sabina Chege should be removed and replaced immediately, with the exercises conducted simultaneously, Jubilee and Azimio La Umoja only demanded Sabina Chege's ouster, without listing her successor. 

He ordered Jubilee to put its house in order before the issue can be resolved. Jubilee and the Minority side were also given 30 days to resolve the issue to remove Sabina Chege.

"The communication received from the Minority Party on the decision to oust Sabina Chege is incomplete and therefore does not comply with the requirements of Standing Order 20(A) of the National Assembly," he underlined.

EALA MP Kanini Kega (left) and nominate MP Sabina Chege (right) during a past event at Jubilee Headquarters.
EALA MP Kanini Kega (left) and nominated MP Sabina Chege (right) during an event at Jubilee Headquarters on April 19, 2023.
Kanini Kega

Wetangula added that Jubilee Party met the threshold to be recognized as a parliamentary party but he would not invoke such a provision due to confusion over its leadership structure. 

Wetangula though ruled that Azimio was fully entitled to discipline its members, but it had to follow the processes stipulated by Standing Orders.

On if Sabina Chege could be ousted as Deputy Minority Whip, Wetangula noted, "By the time the house resumes from recess, it is my expectation that my office shall be in receipt of the communication from the minority side replacing its minority whip if they so wish."

He also agreed with National Assembly minority leader, Opiyo Wandayi, that a Speaker should not declare how a party can discipline its members but only rule on the matter.

"In the case of party leadership in the house, the Speaker dictates what it is communicated by party officials and the status on the party (Jubilee's) leadership is lingering," he added, indicating that other constitutional bodies outside Parliament, such as the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties are mandated to handle such grievances.

"The Speaker cannot be called to mediate or act as an arbitrator in such matters," he added.

On Uhuru Kenyatta Ouster as Jubilee Party Leader

Moses Wetangula stated that there was a contest on who were the bonafide officials in Jubilee and that Kanini Kega, allied with the Ruto faction, had written a letter to the Registrar of Political Parties who would address the matter.

The NA Speaker revealed that he had received a correspondence from the Jubilee Party notifying him of leadership changes within the party where Sabina Chege replaced former President Uhuru Kenyatta as the party leader.

The letter was written by East African Legislative Assembly MP Kanini Kega and it was also copied to the Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP).

Wetangula revealed that he would not delve into the matter of leadership changes as it involved the Judiciary he further noted that it was not the duty of the speaker to decide on internal disputes of a party.

Chege was controversially appointed as Jubilee Party leader on Tuesday, May 2, through a statement made by Kega after a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.

"We have 28 members, and today we held a meeting comprising 22 members with 3 apologies; hence meeting the majority requirement.

"The NEC Committee resolved that Sabina will serve as the acting party leader until the time we convene a National Delegates Convention (NDC) where we will select the leader who will run the party moving forward," Kega stated then. 

Immediately after the ouster, the Jubilee faction led by embattled Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni noted that it did not recognise Chege's appointment.

“The Jubilee Party Constitution does not envisage a situation where a rebel group can evict a party leader from his position.

“The rebel group's meetings in clandestine locations, the subsequent minutes and resolutions are null and void," a statement from the Kioni-led group read in part. 

A collage of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and nominated MP Sabina Chege (right)
A collage of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and nominated MP Sabina Chege (right)
Jubilee Party