By Mary Thuo, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – The newly inaugurated Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) has its job cut out with much awaited party polls set to begin in March 2020.
The Desma Nungo-led tribunal was sworn in at the Supreme Court on Tuesday during an event presided over by Chief Justice David Maraga.
Speaking after her inauguration, Nungo said her first task at the helm of the tribunal will be to handle any disputes that may arise from party elections.
The governing Jubilee Party is among political outfits set to elect officials in the first half of the year.
Nungo assured Kenyans that she is ready to tackle any complaints that will arise from the ever-charged party elections.
The main opposition party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is expected to have its elections in May with Jubilee Party expected to conduct the exercise in March.
The March elections will serve as the litmus test for the Jubilee Party which will doing the exercise for the first time since it was founded.
Two rival camps have emerged with the party, one pledging its loyalty to Party Leader Uhuru Kenyatta, the other faction leaning towards Deputy Party Leader William Ruto who is eyeing the party’s ticket ahead of the 2022 presidential election.
The Kenyatta-leaning camp has even hinted at pushing for a constitutional review to allow the Head off State remain in power in a different role, preferably Prime Minister, once his current second term as President lapses. The proposal has been viciously fought by Ruto-allied members.
“I am confident, lessons learnt in the 2017 Pre-Election Dispute Management will provide guidance on how to adequately prepare for more dispute resolutions ahead of the 2022,” Nungo, who takes over Kyalo Mbobu after his term came to an end in November last year, said.
The two major political parties are facing an implosion over planned party elections as rival factions plot to seize control of Jubilee and ODM ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Allies of the Deputy President said they will fight for control of Jubilee from within when the Party goes to the poll in March with some members warning that the polls could mark the beginning of a bitter political divorce between the two leaders if the growing wrangles are not resolved.
Ruto-leaning Tanga-Tanga MPs led by Didmus Baraza (Kimilili), John Waluke (Sirisia), Kimani Ichungwah (Kikuyu), Nelson Koech (Belgut) and Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) have waged an unrelenting war on current interim office holders, singling out Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, for allegedly playing partisan politics.
In ODM, rivalries may not as high octane as in the ruling party, but sparks are expected to fly after some of the top Orange party officials appeared divided over the implementation of a task force report that recommended a total overhaul of the current secretariat.
Deputy Party Leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is among top party officials who have labeled some officials within two governing organs of the party as cartels.
CJ Maraga encouraged Nungo to carry out her duties in a judicious and fair manner adding the tribunal may be forced work for longer hours.
“We all know how political parties behave around elections, it is a season where disputes arise, others come in the cause of the parliamentary terms that require resolutions by the Tribunal,” he stated.
The seven-member tribunal handled 540 nomination disputes ahead of the 2017 general election.