The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Malindi branch, has started collecting signatures with a view to recalling embattled Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa.
The party’s Malindi branch secretary, Mr Joseph Saro, has said the exercise will be carried out for 12 days in all the five wards within the constituency.
Saro claims that Jumwa’s recall has been necessitated by several cases of gross misconduct that make it difficult for her to continue to effectively discharge her duties as the Member of Parliament for Malindi.
“We have already distributed forms to the offices of the five members of the County Assembly (MCAs) in the constituency where we expect registered voters to append their signatures as provided for in the constitution,” he said.
Saro was speaking to journalists in Jilore Ward on Monday this week where he officially launched the exercise which analysts contend may not be a walk in the park as ODM leaders believe.
A casual reading of the Election Act 2011, reveals that the ODM leaders will have a hard task convincing both the High Court and the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) before a recall petition can be subjected to a vote by Malindi constituents.
Although section 104 of the Kenya Constitution 2010 provides for the right to recall a Member of Parliament, the Election Act 2011 sets out tough conditions and procedures to be followed before any successful recall of an MP can be effected.
Section 45 (2) of the Act states that an MP may be recalled if he/she (a) is found, after due process of the law, to have violated the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution (on Leadership and Integrity); (b) is found, after due process of the law, to have mismanaged public resources and (c) is convicted of an offence under the Act.
Section 45 (3) further states that a recall of a Member of Parliament shall only be initiated upon a judgement or finding by the High Court confirming the grounds specified in subsection two.
“The petition referred to in subsection (1) shall – (a) specify the grounds for the recall as specified under section 45(2); (b) contain a list of such number of names of voters in the constituency or county which shall represent at least 30 percent of the registered voters; and (c) be accompanied by the fee prescribed for an election petition,” the sub-section states.
This means that to see the light of day, ODM’s recall petition must contain a list of at least 29,070 registered voters in the constituency (30 per cent of the 87,210 registered voters), assuming the number of registered voters has not increased since the 2017 General Election.
The law also states that where a Member of Parliament is to be recalled under section 45, the IEBC shall frame the question to be determined at the recall election in such a manner as to require the answer “yes” or “no” and the election will be determined by a simple majority of the total valid votes cast.
However, there is a catch as Section 48 of the Act states that a recall election shall be valid if the number of voters who concur in the recall election is at least 50 percent of the total number of registered voters in the affected county or constituency.
Given the history of by-elections in Kenya, getting 50 percent of registered voters to cast their votes has been a challenge, let alone concurring in the elections.
Since the High court must determine the charges against the MP before a petition is presented to the IEBC, Jumwa may stay in office till the end of the current term as the wheels of justice have not been known to be fast.
The ODM leaders could only be playing politics with a view to derailing Jumwa’s 2022 Kilifi County gubernatorial ambitions knowing very well that their scheme to oust her through signatures may not work.
Jumwa was expected to have a date with Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) officers Tuesday, although it is not clear if this happened as the grilling was to be done at an undisclosed location.
The sleuths want to establish the circumstances under which Mr. Michael Ngumbao Jola was shot dead when Ms Jumwa stormed an ODM meeting at the home of then ODM candidate for the Ganda Ward by-election two weeks ago.
Jumwa was arrested and arraigned in a Mombasa court in connection with the incident but she was not formally charged. She was released on a Sh500,000 bond and ordered to present herself to DCI officers in Malindi till the investigations are complete.
On Monday, Jumwa is believed to have met with her lawyers in Mombasa in anticipation that she could be formally charged, since DCI officers said they were almost through with the investigations.