The United Democratic Alliance—a party associated with DP William Ruto—has unveiled its constitution having an expanded leadership structure with three deputy party leaders.
Notably, the party’s national leader will also not be its automatic presidential candidate, giving party members a cocktails of options to pick from during the National Delegates Convention.
Key in the constitution is the introduction of three deputy party leaders, three deputy chairpersons, three party deputy secretary generals, three deputy national treasurers and three deputy national organising secretaries.
Each of these deputies will have a role that is clearly defined—from political affairs, administration, operations, programmes, fundraising and strategy.
According to the UDA constitution exclusively obtained by the Star, there will be an elaborate process to pick the presidential candidate with emphasis on fair competition.
When picking a presidential candidate, the constitution has stipulated that one shall be required to obtain more than 50 per cent of the national delegates congress votes.
“Where, however, no contestant obtains more than 50 per cent of the votes cast, there shall be a re-run between the first two contestants and the contestant with a simple majority shall be the party’s presidential candidate,” the document reads.
The constitution has also given the party’s presidential candidate exclusive powers to nominate a runningmate after securing nomination by the NDC.
This is a departure from the Jubilee constitution which requires that the party presidential candidate be nominated jointly with the runningmate at the NDC.
The UDA outfit has also handed party members—which Ruto has described as hustlers—sweeping powers and whittled down the authority of its leader in a bid to cure pitfalls confronted in the Jubilee party.
According to the constitution, UDA appears to borrow heavily from the Jubilee constitution unveiled in 2017, but swiftly seals glaring leadership loopholes plaguing the ruling party.
The UDA party will hold its grassroot elections on June 18, 2021.
The UDA constitution gives party members powers to petition for a Special Delegates Convention while the parliamentary leadership will have authority to hold their own meetings without necessarily being attended by the party leader.
In what appears to be deliberate effort to anchor the hustler nation in the UDA constitution, the “hustlers” will run the party from the polling station all the way to the national level.
This would be the clearest indication that the UDA policies have been aligned to Ruto’s manifesto, giving the clearest indication that he will run for president on the ticket in 2022.
The DP’s obliteration from the Jubilee party has been blamed on the failure by the drafters of the constitution to empower ordinary members to hold its leadership to account with no powers to call for meetings.
However, under the UDA approach, ordinary members and the“hustlers” have been placed at the heart of its management structure, getting sweeping leadership roles and recourse to push for accountability.
This means that through Ruto’s clarion call, UDA has placed mama mboga, farmers and boda boda rider at the decision making table.
They will sit in the same decision table with professionals, politicians, religious and business representatives to drive the party with enough constitutional mandate to deal with micromanagement of party affairs.
In what appears to be the party’s plan to extent its tentacles across the country, UDA plans to establish a huge network from the polling centre to the national level.
At the polling centre, for instance, six officials will be elected by the members: chairperson, secretary, organising secretary, treasurer, women and youth leaders.
At the ward level, 15 officials will be elected that will include representatives of farmers, touts, kiosk owners and other small-scale entrepreneurs, religious groups, people with disability, among others.
In what is seen like a move to cure a situation where the party leader can run the party as it wishes, the UDA constitution says National Executive Committee Meetings shall be chaired by the national chairman.
However, the UDA constitution has adopted the model of the National Management Committee—the same that is contained in Jubilee Party—as a critical organ that will be acting on behalf of NEC.
The NMC, a lean panel of party officials in Jubilee, has been masterminding and executing the DP’s annihilation from the rank and file of Jubilee including kicking out his allies from parliamentary leadership roles.
The new approach by UDA is meant to ensure that party organs operate optimally and independently without the influence of the party leader, a scenario blamed for the falling out in Jubilee.
For instance, the the ruling Jubilee Party organs right from grassroot to the national level has not met since 2017 save for the regular meeting with NMC officials who have met to kick out allies of the DP.
The UDA constitution, however, says that the party leader shall chair all the meetings of national delegates congress and in case of his or her absence, he or she shall designate any of the deputy party leaders.
“The party leader may convene and preside over any meeting of any organ of the party and when in attendance, shall preside over any meeting of any party organ,” the constitution says.
Every party organ will have an alternative method of calling its meetings which is not tied to the rigid top-down tradition.
For instance, there are three ways of calling an NMC meeting, either through the party chairperson, the deputy chairperson or as directed by NEC.
This applies also to the national policy committee, a technical advisory body to NEC on party manifesto, government policy and state agencies.
The decentralised structure, is also conspicuous to the Parliamentary Group meetings that brings together members of National Assembly and the Senate.
The party leader may convene the PG as is the the practice across political parties.
But in UDA, any of the parliamentary leaders can convene the meeting and in this case, the party leader does not have to attend it.
In another departure from the norm, any MP with the support of a third the PG may convene a meeting.
“If the quorum is attained, any of the parliamentary leaders may preside or chair the meeting and in the absence, the members present shall elect a session chair,” states the constitution.
Further, the constitution provides for special session of the special national delegates congress if a third of the delegates petition in writing.
The notice will be sent to the national chairperson to summon the Congress and will served to the secretary general not later than 60 days.
If they fail to call the meeting, NDC will stand convened.
“If the National chairperson does not summon the meeting within 21 days, the delegates will advertise it in a national newspaper with the greatest circulation and two radio stations.”
The party also creates Diaspora Chapters who will be mainstreamed in the NEC who will attend the meetings either physically or virtually.
Ahead of elections to be held in June, all UDA national officials shall be interim for a maximum of six months.
The constitution places emphasis on having all its officials elected except the Executive Director.
The same reasoning will be replicated at the constituency, county and national level.