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On Ministers holding Positions in Political Parties

Posted by on 24th June 2011

Categories: Kenya Constitution Political Parties

By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

The head of the Constitution Implementation Commission, Charles Nyachae cited the reluctance of ministers to surrender office in political parties as one of the issues holding up the implementation of the constitution. So what’s the constitutional position?

Article 77 (2) of the constitution states: “an appointed State officer shall not hold office in a political party.” The clause is pretty straightforward and needs little explanation.

If this Article came into play immediately it would affect several high level politicians Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minster Uhuru Kenyatta, Water Minister Charity Ngilu, Internal Security Minister/Acting Foreign Minister George Saitoti, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, Medical Services Minster Anyang’ Nyong’o, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo.

The Prime Minister and the several ministers have disagreed with the Constitution Implementation Commissions position. The Minister for Justice, and Constitutional Affairs Mutula Kilonzo has argued that the provision barring state appointed officers from holding positions in political parties only kicks in after the 2012 elections a position supported by the other ministers involved.  However he has agreed to resign his party position if the other ministers mentioned resign as well.  This opposition is likely based on Article 3 (2) of the transitional and consequential clauses of the constitution.

This article deals with portions of old constitution that remain operational until the next general election:

Sections 30 to 40, 43 to 46 and 48 to 58 of the former Constitution, the provisions of the former Constitution concerning the executive, and the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, 2008 (No.4 of 2008) shall continue to operate until the first general elections held under this Constitution, but the provisions of this Constitution concerning the system of elections, eligibility for election and the electoral process shall apply to that election.”

The point of contention is the part that reads ‘provisions of the former Constitution concerning the executive’. The provisions of the former constitution that govern the executive do not explicitly mention the conflict that may arise from Cabinet Ministers holding executive positions in political parties, nor does it prohibit members of the executive from holding positions in political parties.  On a whole the old constitution is silent on the matter of whether ministers can or cannot hold party positions and cabinet simultaneously. The ambiguity means the field is open for virtually any interpretation. There’s the argument that instances of silence the spirit of the constitution should be followed.   Fortunately we now have a Supreme Court to untangle the conundrum.

Should Wetangula step aside?

Posted by on 27th October 2010

Categories: Members of Parliament Political Parties

Last week Thursday Adan Keynan, MP for South Wajir Constituency and Chairperson of the Parlimentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs, moved a motion for adoption of the committee’ s report on the Wetangula scandal.   The report indicts the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moses Wetangula and his PS Mwangi Thuita for the fraudlent procument of property for an embassy in Tokyo, Japan – due to numerous irregularities in the purchase of this property we, the Kenyan tax payers, lost over 1.1 billion shillings in the transaction.  The report further recommends that the minister step aside
pending investigations into the matter.

When the motion was moved last week the Minister of Foreign Affairs asked for more time to study the report and prepare his response. Yesterday was D-day and the house was packed.    Yatta MP, Charles Kilonzo, seconded the adoption of the Parliament report outlining of the irregularities in the procurement of the property in Japan .   Among other things, no valuation on the property despite the fact the Ministry was advised that it was paying an inflated price for the property. No negotiations were carried to bring down the price of the property and no further experts were consulted. The Ministry went ahead and made an advance payment of the 80% of the purchase price of the property to the vendors. This payment is 60-70% more than the usual 10-20% usually paid in advance for such transactions. More worrying than the lack of consultation however is the existence of two disparate sale agreements for the same parcel of property and the fact that the 80% advance payment was made over the counter
to the vendor and in cash.

Given the magnitude of the irregularities in the Ministry’ s dealings in the acquisition of the Tokyo mission, there is no doubt which way House
should vote on the adoption of the report.  However, interpreting the outcome of debates in our parliament is hardly an exact science. Voting patterns our parliament are an intricately connected in a political equation that includes personal interests, promises for future support, community politics and loyalties which shift quite literally from debate to debate. This equation makes it difficult to predict with any certainty whether the report will be adopted or not.

Yesterday, the Minister argued that he does not deal with day to
day running of the Ministry and therefore was not privy to information of what actually transpired in Tokyo.  So what exactly is the Minister responsible for then?  The passing of the buck by the Minister to the technocrats in the Ministry is unacceptable.

The debate continues today. Which side are you on?

FORD People (FORD-P)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

FORD People (FORD-P)

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FORD People (FORD-P)
Founded 1996

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Members Constituency Term
1 Mwathi, Peter Mungai Limuru 2007
2 Onyancha, Joel Omagwa Bomachoge 2007
3 Rai, Samuel Gonzi Kinango 2007
4 Angwenyi, Jimmy Nuru Ondieki Kitutu Chache 2002
1 Elected Member Of Parliament Kisumi Town West Limuru
1 Elected Member Of Parliament Kisumi Town West Limuru

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FORD Asili (FORD-A)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

FORD Asili (FORD-A)

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FORD Asili (FORD-A)
Founded 1992

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1    Kariuki, Ngata John Kirinyaga Central    2007
2    Kagwima, Francis Nyamu    Tharaka    2002, 1997, 1992

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Federal Party of Kenya (FPK)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

Federal Party of Kenya (FPK)

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Federal Party of Kenya (FPK)
Founded 2006

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Farmers Party (FARMWRS)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

Farmers Party (FARMWRS)

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Farmers Party (FARMWRS)
Founded 2006

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Development and Welfare Alliance Party of Kenya (DWAPK)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

Democratic Representative Party (DRP)

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Development and Welfare Alliance Party of Kenya (DWAPK)
Founded 2006

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Democratic Representative Party (DRP)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

Democratic Representative Party (DRP)

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Democratic Representative Party (DRP)
Founded 2006

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Democratic Reformation Party of Kenya (DRPK)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

Democratic Reformation Party of Kenya (DRPK)

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Democratic Reformation Party of Kenya (DRPK)
Founded 2006

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Democratic National Alliance (DNA)

Posted by on 19th July 2000

Categories: Political Parties

Democratic National Alliance (DNA)

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Democratic National Alliance (DNA)
Founded: 2006

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