Section of Jubilee women MPs protest Murkomen and Kihika ouster

Jubilee women MPs led by Kandara MP Alice Wahome (centre) addressing the media at Parliament on May 14, 2020, where they called on their leadership to stop threats and intimidation to members allied to Deputy President William Ruto. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

A section of Jubilee women Members of Parliament has protested the recent removal of senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Susan Kihika from Senate Majority Leader and Chief Whip positions respectively.

Led by Kandara MP Alice Wahome, the legislators accused Jubilee Party of taking advantage of Covid-19 pandemic situation to intimidate them. They pledged to stand by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika after their ouster, claiming that they were unfairly targeted because of associating with Deputy President William Ruto.

“As party members and women leaders of Jubilee Party, we want to0 express solidarity with Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Senator Susan Kihika and all Jubilee Senators who have been served with letters to show cause by party’s Secretary-General,” they noted in their statement.

The MPs have lashed at Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju who yesterday sent a warning to five nominated senators who failed attend a Parliamentary Senate Group meeting at State House which was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We reject and denounce the manner in which our Secretary-General has selectively issued letters to Jubilee women nominated senators who allegedly did not attend a parliamentary Group meeting at State House,” they said. They accused Mr Tuju of perpetrating the removal of Murkomen and Kihika from Senatorial leadership positions without following the party’s constitution, Political Parties Act and the Kenyan law.

According to the group of legislators, the women leaders have been dealt a blow after the removal of Senator Kihika from the Chief Whip position. That the post was handed to a man in Murang’a Senator Irungu Kangata is a travesty justice to them.

“Even assuming the process was right, why would our PG purport to remove a woman Chief Whip and replace him with a male Chief Whip. What does this say about the treatment of women by our party?” they posed. They have consequently warned their party against what they termed as issuing threats targeting women leaders in Jubilee.

Their statement comes hours after the party on Wednesday hatched a plan to expel five female senators who failed to attend the PG meeting on Monday.

According to the Secretary-General, Mr Tuju, the legislators failed to attend the meeting and even never bothered to send their apologies despite receiving invites. Mr Tuju said that the group was liable for gross misconduct and insubordination.

Their fates are still unknown as they are staring at a possible recall. They include Millicent Omanga, Falhada Dekow, Naomi Jillo Waqo, Victor Prengei and Mary Seneta Yiane.

However, Senator Christine Zawadi may survive the chop after she wrote to the party’s Chief Whip Irungu Kangata explaining that she could not access the Nairobi Metropolitan area due to Covid-19 restrictions on movement on the day the PG took place.

She, however, endorsed the resolutions stating that she ‘overwhelmingly supports ‘the decision to choose new leaders.

The PG, which included Kanu leaders resolved to replace Senator Murkomen with his West Pokot counterpart Samuel Poghisio as the Majority Leader.

Senator Kihika was replaced with her Irunhu Kangata who earlier served under her as the Deputy Chief Whip.

Amidst protests from leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto, the party’s decision was passed at the Senate on Tuesday.