(Embattled Ford Kenya Party Leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula (left) and Secretary-General and Tongaren MP Dr. Eseli Simiyu. GRAPHICS/SIMIYU WAKAJUANESS)
The drama surrounding the ouster of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula as Ford Kenya party leader on Thursday took a new twist when the high Court claimed jurisdiction to hear the case.
Wetang’ula had moved to the high court seeking to overturn his dismissal as party leader of the second oldest party in the country, a move that was unsuccessfully objected by the coup leaders led by Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Tongaren MP Dr. Eseli Simiyu and Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi.
The Eseli faction had argued that the high court has no jurisdiction to hear the case filed by Wetang’ula meaning the High Court will go ahead to hear the case.
But how did we reach here? Our editorial team gives a chronology of events:
Sunday May 31, 2020: FK Secretary-General Dr Eseli leads 35 other NEC members in removing Senator Wetang’ula as party leader at Radisson Hotel in Nairobi accusing him of wrecking the party and running it as his personal briefcase. They replace him with Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi on interim basis.
Wetang’ula holds a parallel press conference dismissing the Eseli faction changes and suspends the Tongaren MP as party SG among other officials in the coup camp.
Monday June 1, 2020: Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati suspends personal funding of Ford Kenya party activities including salaries of the secretariat citing mismanagement of funds by the Wetang’ula wing.
Both the Eseli and Wetang’ula factions submit their changes to the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu. The RPP faults the two sides’ applications but with the Wetang’ula side suffering the most after being found guilty of failing to raise the necessary quorum to effect any changes.
Friday June 5, 2020: Eseli re-submits the correct documents as directed by the RPP. The re-submission is acknowledged. The RPP allows Eseli to continue with the process of removing Wetang’ula as Party Leader and Chris Mandu Mandu as National Organising Secretary in accordance with Article 20 of the Political Parties Act as read with the Ford Kenya constitution.
Monday June 8, 2020: RPP gazettes Wamunyinyi and Josephine Waungu as the new party leader and Organising Secretary respectively under the Kenya Gazette Notice VolCXXII – No. 106.
Wednesday June 10, 2020: Wetang’ula moves to Political Parties Dispute Tribunal seeking to block his removal.
Friday June 12, 2020: Wetang’ula withdraws case from the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal, moves to the high court to stop the RPP from effecting the changes in the party leadership. The Gazette notice is suspended and rules that the status quo remains.
Between June 29 and July 3rd Sep, 2020: Eseli files case to stop high court from hearing Wetang’ula’s case, says high court has no jurisdiction to hear the case whose fate should be decided by the tribunal.
Thursday September 9, 2020: Wetang’ula suffers a big blow as Political Parties Dispute Tribunal issues conservative orders barring Wetang’uls from transacting any business on behalf of Ford Kenya party after a petition from a concerned Ford Kenya member, Chrispinus Barasa from Busia County.
Thursday September, 2020: Justice Makau rules that the High Court has a jurisdiction to hear the Ford Kenya case, dealing a blow to the Eseli faction. The ruling now gives the High Court a go-ahead to hear and determine the case.
Eseli moves to the appeal court to overturn the high court ruling.
From the above hyphens, it’s clearly coming out that the removal of Wetang’ula will probably take longer than imagined and whoever that will take the party could do so in 2022.
This is because each worrying side will continue to petition the court rulings up to the Supreme Court and that may not happen any soon.
Editorial note: We may have missed the accuracy of some dates especially on the day Eseli filed the case against the jurisdiction of the high court but we will update this post once we get the accuracy of that day.