Serving politicians running as independent candidates should lose seats – Kega
The raging debate on the fate of party defectors running as independent candidates seems to have taken a new twist with emerging reports of Constitutional infringement.
On Wednesday, April 3, Kieni Member of Parliament, Kanini Kega weighed in on the matter, stating that serving legislators who have defected, in writing, from their parties and are running as independent candidates should lose their seats.
Speaking to Citizen Digital, MP Kega said that the Constitution clearly stipulates the next course of action for defecting governors, senators, MPs and MCA, calling on the speaker of both Houses to act decisively on the matter.
“Article 103 of the Constitution is very clear on how one can lose their seat, including defecting from the party on which you were elected into office,” said Kanini Kega.
“The Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate and County Assemblies should therefore declare the seats of the defecting legislators vacant.”
According to Article 103 (1) (e) of the Constitution states that: “the office of a member of Parliament becomes vacant if, having been elected to Parliament, as a member of a political party, the member reigns from that party or is deemed to have resigned from the party…”
Whilst there are some defections that happened before the recently-held primaries, the outcome of the party nominations seems to have triggered a mass exodus from both Jubilee and National Super Alliance (NASA).
Last week, the court upheld a law barring leaders from hoping to other parties after losing in nominations, leaving them with only one option – to run as independent candidates.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has given political aspirants until Thursday, May 5, 2017 to return their registration forms to be cleared to run as independent candidates.
“The commission advises all persons aspiring to contest as independent candidates to submit duly-filled application forms to the IEBC headquarters by May 4, 2017, to allow for processing before the legal timeline of May 8, 2017,” the commission said.
Tharaka Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa and 14 county assembly members defected from Jubilee to Narc Kenya in February this year, two months to the Jubilee nominations while Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti and Mbeere North MP Charles Njagagua led 23 MCAs from Jubilee to Maendeleo Chap Chap.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua also reportedly submitted an official letter defecting from Wiper to Maendeleo Chap Chap. David Musila and Hezron Awiti have also ditched Wiper
Others include Murang’a Senator Mr Kembi Gitura and Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua.
Gitura said he will seek to defend his seat as an independent candidate and will face off with Mr Irungu Kang’ata who defeated him in Jubilee nominations, while Mr Kinuthia Mbugua was defeated by Lee Kinyanjui in Nakuru nominations.
Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi is also said to be interested in running as an independent candidate after losing in Jubilee nominations, while Asman Kamama who defected weeks before the nominations will defend his Tiaty parliamentary seat on a Maendeleo Chap Chap ticket.
Reports also indicate that Nairobi governorship aspirant Peter Kenneth who lost the nominations to Mike Sonko and Uasin Gishu governorship aspirant Zedekiah ‘Buzeki’ Bundotich Kiprop ho lost to the incumbent Mandago Jackson would also run as independent candidates.
Some of ODM leaders who have vowed to be on the ballot as independent candidates include Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo who lost to Cornel Rasanga in the controversial Siaya governorship nominations, and Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo who lost his ticket to Elisha Odhiambo.
Funyula MP Paul Otuoma is also set to run as an independent candidate for the Busia governorship seat after losing the race to incumbent Sospeter Ojaamong in a contested ODM nomination.
The enormity of the task ahead cannot be ignored though. Out of the 290 elected MPs in the 11th Parliament, only three joined as independent candidates, posing the question of whether this numbers will be shuttered in the August 8 elections.