Kenya: There Was No Court Order to Retain Sabina Chege as Deputy Minority Whip, Sifuna Claims

Nairobi — Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna has stated that the court order Moses Wetangula, Speaker of the National Assembly, used in his decision on Sabina Chege's continued appointment as the House Deputy Minority Whip on Thursday is dubious.

Speaking on Citizen Tv on Thursday, Sifuna stated that the court order in question, was not served to the minority party prior to the decision and may not be legal because it violates a requirement of the Parliamentary standing rules.

"Everybody can read when we are telling the truth, I don't think there is a court order first because I have not seen it. It just doesn't make any sense to me until I see it," he said.

"The way it was communicated, if you have a court order affecting me, you must serve me. If Deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui has not seen that court order, Wetangula has not shown the minority party the order, then it is a suspicious order."

The Senator argued that if Wetangula had received a court order, the minority Azimio la Umoja One Kenya side should have been served as the respondents.

In addition, he questioned the constitutionality of the purported order preventing Sabina's release, claiming that no court or High Court Judge with proper standing would have made such an order because it is illegal.

Sifuna asserts that the Speaker is prohibited from choosing the leadership of any political party by the standing rules of both Houses, and that any judge would have advised the petitioner to pursue the party's internal conflict resolution procedures instead.

"A court exercising properly its judicious mind to an application such as that, would be hesitant to issue a court order when challenging something passed a year ago," said Sifuna.

"It reeks of forum shopping where people have identified a certain court that can issue favorable orders, reeks of interference by unseen hands and is wrong on all fronts because the standing orders of the National Assembly mirror those of the Senate and the Speaker has no role in determining the leadership of the minority side."

He added, "In the last administration there was a spectre of fake court orders and the Judiciary had to develop a court order with a code so that you verify with the Registrar that this is a real court because I don't believe that a person sitting in a position of a High Court judge knowing there is a forum for dispute resolution involving political parties and their members would issue such an order."

Sifuna's statement comes when Speaker Wetangula indicated that he cannot effect the changes by the Azimio Coalition Parliamentary Group meeting given conservatory orders given on petition filed in Kiambu Court barring the changes.

"I have ruled that you have procedurally followed every step, and I have no difficulty with your decision to remove your deputy whip, but there is a court order that strangely your party and coalition is not party to, I would advise that you seek to be enjoined,"Wetangula said.

"I am confronted by a court order that specifically cited both speaker and the house as parties to a judicial process that seems to challenge an administrative process,"he added.

Wetangula ruled that the letter by Minority Leader seeking to have Chege replaced by Embakasi West MP David Mwenje will not take effect until the conservatory orders have been set aside.

"Until and unless further information is provided that this court order has been varied or set side, the court order effectively suspends the decision by the minority party on the replacement of Sabina Chege as the minority whip,"Wetangula said.

A pandemonium sitting was witnessed in the National Assembly on Thursday Afternoon forcing seven MPs to be suspended following the chaos that rocked the plenary sitting.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula suspended the seven who are accused of causing mayhem during his communication that retained Nominated MP Sabina Chege as the deputy minority whip.

In the heated session, one MP was reportedly injured after fights broke out in the national Assembly forcing the Speaker to suspend the sitting for fifteen minutes to contain the situation.

When the house resumed its sittings, MPs Millie Odhiambo (Suba South), Rosa Buyu (Kisumu), Chege and TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka) were kicked out for a period of two weeks after the speaker invoked the standing orders.

Fatuma Muyanzi (Malindi), and Catherine Omanyo (Busia) were barred from the house sittings for a period of five days while and Joyce Kamene was ordered out for a period two sittings.

Irked by the action taken by the National Assembly Speaker, Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi threatened that they will submit a motion of no confidence against the speaker accusing him of being biased.

"Things cannot continue in this manner in this house anymore, and we have decided to bring a motion of impeachment against the person of Moses Wetangula as the speaker, and we expect him to prioritize that motion,"said Wandayi.

The Deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui accused Speaker Wetangula of acting under the whims of the majority coalition.

"The main issue we have a problem with is that the speaker wants the majority to dictate who will lead the minority, we have made a decision who we want to lead us, it's not logical and it's not moral, if I was Sabina I would have resigned, we won't allow the majority to continue controlling us," said the deputy majority leader.

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