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Kenyan ministers may loose positions

Posted by African Press International on December 29, 2008

New law: 16 MPs risk losing seats

Six ministers are among 16 Members of Parliament who risk losing their seats on New Year when the Political Parties Act becomes operational.

Water Minister Charity Ngilu, Sports Minister Hellen Sambili and Housing Minister Soita Shitanda top the list of potential casualties of the law that seeks to inject order and discipline in politics two missing ingredients that gave way to the multiplicity of briefcase parties. Ngilu is the chairperson of Narc, which became a shell after most founder members decamped to ODM, PNU and Narc-Kenya. She is allied to ODM in Parliament. Soita heads New Ford Kenya, and is fighting an injunction that bars the party from conducting elections.

Respite

For Sambili, UDM leader Nathaniel Chebelion told The Standard on Sunday that the party had partially complied with the Act and would use the 180 days window provided by temporary registration to put its house in order.

Assistant Ministers Linah Jebii Kilimo (Cooperatives), Wavinya Ndeti (Gender and Sports) and Richard Momoima Onyonka (Foreign Affairs) also risk being locked out by the stringent requirements of the new law that could lead to deregistration of more than 126 of the 168 parties registered under the Societies Act.

The MPs on the chopping board are Walter Nyambati, David Ngugi, John Ngata Kariuki, Cyrus Jirongo, Bonny Khalwale, Robert Monda, Gitobu Imanyara, Francis Baya, David Njuguna and Silas Muteere.

Speaker of National Assembly Kenneth Marende concedes that the new law could force repeat polls if implemented. Citing the confusion caused by clauses on party membership and deregistration of parties, he expressed concern it would be difficult for affected MPs to retain their seats as the Constitution requires lawmakers and councillors to belong to a political party.

Already, the Registrar of Political Parties, Ms Lucy Ndungu, has served notice that there will be no extension of the December 31 deadline as requested by nearly 160 out of 168 political organisations.

“So far, we have granted application certificates to eight parties. Twenty parties have filed the papers and we are still processing their applications. The parties that have complied met all conditions, including those on representation of women,” she says.

By-elections

ODM Secretary for Legal Affairs Mugambi Imanyara says the ministers and MPs are in a precarious situation as they may no longer be useful to their allies “given Kenyas politics of exigency.”

He, however, does not anticipate application of the law retroactively. He also observed that the risk of the 16 MPs being kicked out is low, citing precedence when the National Development Party was dissolved when it merged with Kanu in 2002. The former NDP MPs were not subjected to by-elections.

The Act is specific on the deregistration of parties that will not have met the requirements that include a head office with a permanent physical and postal addresses, fully functional branch offices, at least 200 members in every province and some governing council positions going to women. However, it is silent on what happens to Members of Parliament and civic leaders if parties that sponsored them cease to exist legally.

It is expected that the number of registered parties will reduce further in June at the expiry of the 180 days the law provides for temporary registration.

If women convince the complaints tribunal, which is yet to be formed, that the registration of their parties was obtained in “a fraudulent manner”, parties like PNU and ODM could be deregistered. Ndungu is in the meantime unconcerned with the unfolding scenario.

“As far as we are concerned, the deadline is still there. We, however, do hope that the remaining parties will file their returns before then,” she says.

In addition, says the registrar, Narc-Kenya, Ford Kenya, Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya, Democratic Party, Grand National Union, Safina and Labour Party of Kenya have complied.

Compliance

However, MPs and councillors affiliated to Chama Cha Uzalendo, Kenda, Ford-Asili, Peoples Democratic Party, Narc, National Labour Party, Peoples Party of Kenya, Ford-P, Sisi Kwa Sisi and Kaddu could be forced to seek fresh mandate on registered parties. During its national delegates conference at Bomas of Kenya, ODM made two significant changes in its constitution to provide for corporate membership and coalitions.

ON THE CHOPPING BOARD

CONSTITUENCY: MP PARTY
1. MOGOTIO Hellen Sambili UDM
2. MALAVA Soita Shitanda New Ford-K
3. KITUI CENTRAL Charity Ngilu Narc
4. KATHIANI Wavinya Ndeti CCU
5. KITUTU CHACHE Richard Onyonka PDP
6. KITUTU MASABA Walter Nyambati NLP
7. KINANGOP David Ngugi Sisi kwa Sisi
8. KIRINYAGA CENTRAL John Ngata Kariuki Ford-A
9. LUGARI Cyrus Jirongo Kaddu
10. IKOLOMANI Bonny Khalwale New Ford-K
11. NYARIBARI CHACHE Robert Monda Narc
12. CENTRAL IMENTI Gitobu Imanyara CCM
13. GANZE Francis Baya KADU-A
14. LARI David Njuguna PPK
15. NORTH IMENTI Silas Muteere Mazingira
16. MARAKWET EAST Jebii Kilimo Kenda

source.standard.ke

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