FORD-K WRANGLES

Wetangula's sigh of relief after rival faction calls off NDC meeting

A group led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi is seeking to oust the senator from party leadership

In Summary
  • Wetang'ula moved to the High Court and obtained orders barring Wamunyinyi group from holding the NDC.
  • The Wamunyinyi group claims Wetang'ula is no longer the party leader.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula.
Image: FILE

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula can now heave a sigh of relief after a rival faction seeking to oust him as Ford Kenya leader called off a crucial meeting.

The faction led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi has postponed a meeting of the National Delegates Congress initially planned for Saturday citing a court order.

This means Wetang'ula would continue hanging on as the Ford Kenya party boss - at least for now - until his opponents hold a successful NDC to ratify his ouster.

The postponed NEC meeting was also expected to endorse far-reaching leadership changes that were made by National Executive Council in May. This would have been the first Ford Kenya elections of national officials in nine years.

The NEC had resolved to replace Wetang'ula with Wamunyinyi on an interim basis awaiting ratification by the NDC. However, Ford Kenya secretary general and Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu, who is allied to the Wamunyinyi group, called off the meeting.

In a statement to newsrooms, Eseli said Wetang'ula had moved simultaneously to both the High Court and the Registrar of Political Parties to block the crucial meeting.

“The order was then served on the Registrar of Political Parties, who has then given the advice through a letter dated November 18, 2020, that the NDC be held after the High Court matter is dispensed with either way,” Eseli said.

He, however, said preparations for the meeting followed due process as provided for in the Ford Kenya constitution and the Political Parties Act.

High Court Justice James Makau issued orders stopping the NDC until the Bungoma senator's case challenged the meeting is heard and determined.

The Wamunyinyi faction has also moved to the Court of Appeal to overturn the High Court order, saying even Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu had in a letter dated November 3, 2020, flagged the party for violating its own constitution by not holding an NDC meeting since 2011.

The registrar gave the party 30 days to comply.

“In the meantime, the NDC scheduled for November 21, 2020, is postponed awaiting the determination of the matters in court. As we wait for the determination in the courts, we urge party members to remain calm, peaceful but steadfast, believing in their inalienable right to elect national officials to govern their party Ford Kenya.”

Wetang'ula was initially removed as party leader in May, but he moved to the High Court, which temporarily reinstated him.

The registrar had said the Wetang'ula faction of the National Executive Council lacked a quorum as required under the party constitution to overturn Wetang'ula's removal by the Wamunyinyi team.

The matter is yet to be concluded by the Registrar of Political Parties after both factions claimed leadership.