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DECIDING MOMENT

Defining moment for Ford Kenya as leadership case comes before High Court

On Monday, the contested Ford Kenya leadership case will be before Justice James Kamau for mention.

In Summary
  • The faction led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi has petitioned the Court arguing that the Bungoma senator filed the case in the wrong court.
  • In a constitutional petition filed at the High Court, the Wamunyinyi led team cited Political Parties Act which categorized High Court as an appellate court in matters political parties conflict.
Chair of Women's League Cynthia Mutere, Wafula Wamunyinyi and secretary-general Eseli Simiyu at a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
Chair of Women's League Cynthia Mutere, Wafula Wamunyinyi and secretary-general Eseli Simiyu at a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Monday marks the start of the defining moment for Ford Kenya party as the High Court is expected to pronounce itself on two key issues that will determine its contested leadership.

The faction led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi has petitioned the court, arguing Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, the party leader, filed the case in the wrong court.

In a constitutional petition filed at the High Court, the Wamunyinyi team cited Political Parties Act that categorised the High Court as an appellate court in political parties conflict matters.

Section 41(2) of the Political Parties Act states: “An Appeal shall lie from the decision of the Tribunal to the High Court on points of law and facts and on points of law to both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.”

Through Rachier and Amollo Advocates, they want the High Court to rule whether it has jurisdiction to hear such a case for the first instance. The petition also accused Wetang’ula of forum shopping for a friendly court to frustrate the leadership changes.

Wetang’ula withdrew his case before the Tribunal on June 8 and requested the PPDT to refer the matter for resolution by internal party organs. 

Eight days later, he moved to the High Court where he obtained orders putting on hold the changes that would see Wamunyinyi take over as party leader, with Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu as secretary general.

The decision was arrived at on May 31 after the party’s special National Executive Council meeting at a Nairobi hotel.

The party’s NEC accused Wetang’ula of gross misconduct and failing to champion unity in the political outfit.

Justice Makau is also expected to pronounce himself on the issue of urgency, which he certified in the Wamunyinyi’s petition.

Already, a Nairobi resident has written to the Judicial Service Commission complaining about how the judge handled the urgency issue.

Wycliffe Boiyo argues that the judge’s order was mischievous and was meant to frustrate the changes.

He also wondered why a matter (court’s jurisdiction to hear the case) that had been certified as urgent was pushed for mention 12 days later.

“I find this to be mischievous plot by the judge to ensure that the conservatory orders he granted would be extended on 29th June 2020. If the matter was urgent, why did he not fix the application for hearing on 29th June 2020, and not just mention or if he wanted a mention to confirm service and filing of responses why did he not fix a mention on a day earlier than 29th June, 2020?” he said in his complaint to the JSC.