A row is brewing between two parties affiliated to NASA over House committee positions.
Monday, members of Amani National Congress (ANC), a key partner in the National Super Alliance (NASA), claimed the party was short-changed after Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi of ODM was elected chairman of the powerful National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
ANC had fronted Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi, a confidante of Party leader Musalia Mudavadi, for the position citing an agreement that involved Amani ceding ground in some house leadership positions.
A confident Bunyasi walked briskly into the committee room at around 11am, with some members teasing him with the words “welcome chair”, only for him to secure three out of 18 votes from members present.
Mr Bunyasi had hoped his colleagues from ODM and Wiper would rally even the Jubilee members to vote for him.
After the election, Bunyasi congratulated Mr Wandayi and Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu who was elected the vice chairperson and he left Parliament.
ANC Parliamentary Group chairman Ayub Savula (Lugari MP) said he would convene a meeting and re-evaluate the party’s relationship with ODM.
Mr Savula said ODM had been treating them with insolence and contempt yet the coalition agreement provided for an equal opportunity.
“We feel we have been short-changed by ODM... Every time an agreement is reached, they are the first ones to go against it,” he said.
And now Savula wants ANC to walk out of NASA and start selling Mudavadi as a brand for the 2022 presidential poll.
But Minority Chief whip and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed said there was nothing wrong in PAC members electing a person they had faith in.
“This was an election and the person who got majority of votes carried the day. This was done and finished,” said Mr Mohamed.
His colleague in PAC and Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua said there was no communication from ANC or from the coalition that showed how and who to vote for.
According to Ms Mutua, committee members believed in Wandayi and that’s why they voted for him overwhelmingly.
“Personally I did not receive any communication from the party directing us to vote in a particular way. This was an election within the committee and the members voted for the person they thought fit the bill,” she said.
Wandayi said he would discharge his mandate without fear and favour.
“Our works will purely be of public interest and not witch-hunt. With the support of other members, we shall ensure that public funds are spent well and accounted for,” he said. While giving her acceptance and maiden speech, Ms Mbalu asked committee members to maintain unity of purpose and avoid divisions along political lines.