Profiles

Isaac Mwaura: Politician who thrived on party switches

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Isaac Mwaura. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • For Isaac Mwaura shifting allegiance to political parties has been a career game-plan, winning him back-to-back nominations to Parliament.
  • In a typical scavenger tack, he has over the years thrived on “party switching” to secure a place in the political office.
  • His strategy was pretty simple; always side with the perceived more formidable political formation during electioneering.

For Isaac Mwaura shifting allegiance to political parties has been a career game-plan, winning him back-to-back nominations to Parliament.

In a typical scavenger tack, he has over the years thrived on “party switching” to secure a place in the political office.

His strategy was pretty simple; always side with the perceived more formidable political formation during electioneering.

This worked for him right from the time of the National Rainbow Alliance Coalition (Narc) under retired President Mwai Kibaki in 2002. As a student leader at Kenyatta University, Mwaura and others strategically embedded themselves in the so called Narc reform and agenda and won immense political clout.

The gains under Narc shaped Mwaura’s strategy of always “aligning with the winning side”. And so when the Kibaki regime ran into headwinds due to graft and bad governance, he quickly smelled another opportunity and shifted his dalliance to the Orange Democratic Party(ODM) that had become endearing to many Kenyans as an alternative to the wobbling Narc.

This shift won him leadership slots in ODM, first as the party’s Secretary of Disability Affairs. In 2010, Mwaura was appointed as a senior adviser on special interest groups in the Prime Minister's office which was then occupied by ODM leader Raila Odinga as part of a government of national unity with Kibaki.

But that was not all that Mwaura gained from his dalliance with ODM. In 2013, he was nominated by ODM as an MP to represent special interest groups — becoming the first MP in Kenya with albinism.

In the run up to the 2017 General Election, Mwaura yet again deployed his party switching strategy and decamped to the Jubilee Party. It worked for him. The party nominated him as senator representing persons with disabilities.

With the country hurtling towards another General Election next year, Mwaura was back at his traditional game plan, opting to ditch Jubilee for a new offshoot associated with deputy President William Ruto who is angling to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

His plot, however seems to have run into headwinds this time round. Mr Mwaura was expelled from the Jubilee party on February 8 following an onslaught against its leadership as well as members of the First family.

He rushed to court and obtained a temporary orders blocking his removal. He submitted before the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal that the decision to expel him from the party was made in contravention of the law.

He further said the charges against him were vague and even after appearing before the disciplinary committee, was not given adequate time to prepare for his defence.

The party defended itself saying the complaint against him was forwarded to the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC), outlining the charges as require by the Jubilee party constitution.

Article 5 of Jubilee constitution provides for the expulsion of a member when one is deemed to have contravened the code of conduct.

The tribunal noted that Mr Mwaura appeared before the NDC on February 4 and charges read against him and there was no objection from him on the alleged vagueness of charge. Further, he did not request more details on the accusations he was facing.

“From our examination of the NDC record, we do not agree with the complainant that the charges levelled against him were vague as alleged,” the tribunal said.

It added that there was evidence that Mr Mwaura made comprehensive submissions and tendered evidence in response to all the charges brought against him.

“The complainant was in fact represented by an advocate and two other party members of good standing who also stated to be advocates,” said the tribunal.

Having found that the process was conducted in accordance to the party laws, the tribunal said it was difficult for Mr Mwaura’s team to sustain the allegation of bias or discrimination. Jubilee Secretary- General Raphael Tuju, who testified before them, said the party always gave some leeway and opportunity for errant members to conform before taking disciplinary action against them.

Mr Tuju told the commission that each case is treated independently but in Mr Mwaura’s case, he remained adamant and refused to engage the party organs and instead questioned their authority to act.

The tribunal chaired by Ms Desma Nungo, dismissed Mr Mwaura’s appeal against expulsion from the party. A gazette notice on his removal as a nominated senator was soon published and the Speaker of the Senate soon confirmed it before the floor of the House.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) then published the name of former senator Sammy Leshore as Mr Mwaura’s repalcement.

Mr Mwaura was meanwhile left crying foul saying he had obtained orders from the High Court, blocking his expulsion but they were ignored by the organs he served.

It remains to be seen as to whether Mwaura will recover from his current political quandary.