ODM summons rebel MPs as Raila cracks whip on renegades

Raila-led meeting had earlier ratified the process of expelling seven rebel MPs

In Summary

• The MPs will appear in person before the committee on Wednesday next week at Chungwa House

• Senator Gicheru had asked the party to expel the members for violating the coalition's stand

President William Ruto with ODM MPs and ICT CS Eliud Owalo and Interior PS Raymond Omollo at the State House on July 4, 2023,
President William Ruto with ODM MPs and ICT CS Eliud Owalo and Interior PS Raymond Omollo at the State House on July 4, 2023,
Image: PCS

ODM has summoned at least seven rebel party MPs to appear before its disciplinary committee as the opposition outfit initiates the process of kicking out renegade members.

Disciplinary committee chairman Prof Ben Sihanya has summoned the lawmakers, including Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris, to appear before it on Wednesday next week.

Also summoned include MPs who in February defied the party’s position and met President William Ruto at State House.

They include MPs Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Felix Oduor (Langata), Paul Abuor (Rongo) and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda.

Migori Senator Eddie Gichuru, who is the complainant in the case, wants the party to expel the MPs and have them recalled for violating Section 14A (1) (e) of the Political Parties Act.

It reads: A person who, while being a member of a political party, shall be deemed to have resigned from the party if the person (1) promotes the ideology, interests or policies of another political party.

They six legislators are required to appear in person before the Sihanya-led disciplinary committee on Wednesday next week at Chungwa House, the party headquarters.

Passaris is dragged to the dreaded disciplinary committee for her decision to support the controversial Finance Bill 2023, now Act of Parliament, against express instructions of the party that Azimio MPs vote against the bill.

“By refusing, declining, neglecting and/or failing to vote in accordance to the party’s position, you violated Article 11(1)(e) of the ODM constitution, the Code of Conduct and lawful decisions,” Passaris’ summon letter reads.

It adds that she also violated the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Political Parties Act, 2011 and other relevant laws.

According to the summons seen by the Star, the remaining six MPs will all face five similar charges of associating and supporting the policies of a rival political party and contradicting the party’s position.

They are also accused of betraying public trust bestowed on them by party members and promoting the ideology, interests and policies of another political party as well as gross misconduct.

“ODM Disciplinary Committee, pursuant to Articles 75 and 76 of the ODM constitution, summons you to appear in person before the Committee sitting on Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 10am at Chungwa House,” the letter reads.

“In default of your appearance, the ODM Disciplinary Committee will take appropriate action as provided by the ODM constitution without any further reference to you.

“Please note that you will be required to defend yourself as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against you with regards to your alleged violation of the ODM Party Constitution, Code of Conduct and lawful decisions.”

The summons follows a top party organ meeting chaired by party leader Raila Odinga that early this month ratified the process of expelling at least seven rebel lawmakers.

The Management Committee had resolved to trigger the formal process that will lead to the MPs being kicked out of the party in the coming weeks.

According to the ODM constitution, disciplinary process can lead to either reprimanding the member, censure or fining the member.

The process can also recommend either suspension or expulsion from the party.

“In conducting the hearing, the Disciplinary Committee will also be guided by the principles of fair administrative action, natural justice and due process,” Sihanya said.

The ODM constitution states that once the disciplinary committee recommends expulsion, the decisions will be brought before the National Executive Committee.

NEC will make a decision to uphold the verdict and recommend to the National Governing Council the ratification of the same.

The National Delegates Convention is not required to formally review the decision to expel rebels but may be convened when necessary to ratify the same as the supreme organ.

The party will then write to the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu, seeking the removal of the rebels from the ODM register.

Previously, the party unsuccessfully tried to expel former Malindi MP and now Public Service CS Aisha Jumwa over omissions of key statutory steps.

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