The fate of five nominated senators facing expulsion from Jubilee Party (JP) might be determined any time following the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings yesterday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to chair the National Executive Council (NEC) as soon as next Tuesday, where his deputy, William Ruto, will also be in attendance to seal the fate of the senators, once the Disciplinary Tribunal tables its report.
Yesterday, vocal nominated Senators Millicent Omanga and Victor Prengei were at pains to explain their whereabouts on May 11, when they skipped the Senate Parliamentary Group meeting convened by Uhuru at State House.
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Ms Omanga, who was the first to appear before the Jubilee Disciplinary Tribunal where Jubilee Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata acted as the prosecutor, appeared repentant.
“I did not get the message. Sometimes ukiwa
post-paid na imekatwa
, it is impossible to get all these messages,” Senator Omanga said on why she skipped Jubilee PG meeting.
She said she had no avenue to send her apology after she received the show-cause letter.
“I have not been in my office because it is closed. I have subscribed to the party since 2007 and have paid over Sh600,000; I pay Sh20,000 per month. I can’t pay if I am not loyal,” she said.
The nominated senator faced six charges against her.
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Omanga had a difficult time convincing the panel of her innocence as she was interrogated on issues revolving around her conduct inside and outside Parliament, her social media posts and snubbing the PG meeting.
The tribunal, led by Mombasa-based lawyer Muchai Lumatete, put her to task on whether she had made any attempt to apologise for skipping the meeting.
Omanga was also at pains to explain her sentiments on social media, which she denied were directed at the party leader.
“I was defending our party against those who don’t support it. They are all over on social media. I was just responding to media and social media. It was a social media thing,” she said.
She disclosed: “I have not been able to reach the party chairman, so I have not been able to apologise to him. The whip is organising for a meeting for me to apologise to the party leader, Uhuru Kenyatta.”
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The tribunal members, however, pressed Omanga to explain why she had not made any formal communication to issue an apology to the party leadership.
“The Chief Whip is our link to the party so I went and explained to him. Even as I appeared here, my understanding was that we were coming to withdraw the charges,” Omanga stated.
She cited her vote against Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki as an instance where she chose party loyalty over her personal friend.
Mr Lumatete asked Omanga what she meant by “Bring it on”?
Asked Lumatete: “Senator, what did you mean by the remarks ‘We have numbers, bring it on baby’?”
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Omanga, in response, said: “I was talking about my WhatsApp group; I wanted to add more people to view my status.”
As the questioning became intense, the senator requested for a bathroom break, less than an hour into the session.
Her session ended with Kang’ata requesting the tribunal not to expel her as she had proved her loyalty to the party.
Senator Prengei, who also denied knowledge of the PG meeting, was the next to be questioned.
“On that day, I was in the village, East Mau. The area has very poor network and roads. I use solar and because of the rainy season, I didn’t have enough charge for the phone,” he stated.
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He went on, “I can attest to being loyal to the party. Unless the committee has contrary evidence, I am loyal to the party and party leader and support its agenda. I have never been in any public event opposing it.”
Senators Omanga, Prengei, Falhada Aden, Mary Seneta and Naomi Waqo risk losing their seats for not attending the president’s meeting.