Court battles loom over Azimio deal

Written by on 20 September 2022

A legal battle is looming between Azimio la Umoja Coalition and some of its constituent parties who have since decamped to President William Ruto’s side.

The Deed of Agreement spells stringent exit routes for political parties who feel dissatisfied with the treatment or want to shift allegiance to other political parties.

The agreement signed by 23 political parties forming Azimi states that where any coalition partner is aggrieved and asserts that there has been a breach of this agreement or its performance is frustrated, it shall be by a written resolution of its highest decision-making organ refer to the matter to the dispute Resolution Panel.

“Any party may withdraw from the Coalition agreement upon giving 90 days’ notice to the Coalition council of its intention to withdraw from the coalition party. No party may withdraw from the coalition six months before the August 2022 General elections or within three months after the date of the said General elections,” reads part of the Deed.

Three months

The details of the Deed of agreement come two weeks after Chiforomodo Mangale (Lunga Lung MP) filed a petition at the Mombasa High Court seeking to challenge the constitutionality of a provision in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party agreement that restrains constituent parties from leaving the coalition until after three months from the elections.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) lawmaker argues that the coalition agreement curtails his freedom of association and political rights to negotiate and join a coalition until the lapse of three months after the August 9 General Election.

In the Deed, Azimio states that matters that amount to disciplinary offences include gross misconduct, corruption, allegiance to another political party, misappropriation of party funds, disloyalty to the coalition party, disobedience or disregard of the party and the organs of the party and failure to abide by the Code of conduct of the party.

“The Coalition council may with justifiable cause, appoint a committee to investigate the affairs of any organ of the party. The council may refer any disciplinary matter to the National Disciplinary Committee,” reads part of the Deed.

It further adds that in the discharge of its disciplinary mandate, the National Disciplinary Committee may suspend a member, expel a member, fine a member or remove/dewhip a member from committees of parliament or County Assemblies.

Disputes panel

According to the agreement, there is established a Dispute Resolution Panel comprising of five members appointed by the Coalition council from among eminent personalities with reputable knowledge, competent and impartial and should be persons not holding any other office in the coalition party or its constituents.

“Where the Dispute Resolution panel finds that there has been a breach of this agreement then the panel shall direct the coalition partner in breach to rectify the breach within such time as may be stipulated and where appropriate, make such determination or impose such other sanctions as it may determine.”

Among the parties that signed the agreement include Jubilee, ODM, Wiper, Kanu, National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), Narc Kenya, Muungano Party, Maendeleo Chap Chap, Democratic Action Party-Kenya, Devolution Empowerment Party, United Party of Independent Alliance, United Democratic Movement (UDM) and United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

In the Deed, states Coalition Parliamentary Group shall comprise of all the members of parliament as shall have been elected or nominated on the ticket of the constituent parties to the coalition.

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