National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale could be the biggest casualty as President Uhuru Kenyatta moves to the final phase of a ruthless purge against allies of his deputy William Ruto.
Duale, previously seen as the safe hands in the crackdown due to his performance in pushing government agenda, may be on the way out of the plum parliamentary position that ranks him second after the Speaker.
Yesterday, credible sources told The Standard that Uhuru’s Jubilee wing had settled on Igembe North MP Maoka Maore as a possible replacement of Duale. “His fate has been decided. He will be replaced by Maoka Maore. Those who were trying to lobby for him to remain have given up,” said the source.
However, a highly placed source in Jubilee insisted Duale’s fate had not been sealed yet, as some felt he had been effective in championing government agenda in the National Assembly.
“Irrespective of his loyalty to the DP, which is post 2022, Duale has pushed the government agenda in the House effectively. The mood is to remove him, but he could survive. It will depend on how the president is persuaded,” said the source.
The Kieleweke camp of Jubilee has since formed a technical team, working closely with top party officials to come up with the changes that will be ratified during the National Assembly Parliamentary Group meeting planned for next Tuesday at State House.
Top party officials pushing for Duale’s ouster have argued that sparing him while removing other House leadership and committee chairpersons will negate the objective of the purge - to populate key parliamentary positions with Uhuru allies.
Duale had in previous interviews maintained he had Uhuru’s support in pushing for Jubilee agenda in the House.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega, a close ally of the president, said they were yet to finalise on some of the proposed changes.
“We are yet to come up with a final list about the changes we intend to have in the National Assembly leadership,” said Kega.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu claimed Duale had painted Uhuru as a dishonest leader when he alleged the president was using ODM leader Raila Odinga for political expediency and would abandon him in the lead up to 2022 polls.
“A few weeks ago, Duale publicly stated that President Kenyatta is being deceitful with ODM leader Raila Odinga in the BBI process, and that at an opportune time the president will throw Raila under the bus to help Ruto,” said Ngunjiri.
“We cannot have a leader who casts aspersions on the integrity of the president in Parliament and therefore leading the BBI process in the House as we head into an intensely critical period of delivering BBI to Kenyans. That will call for mutual trust, honesty and humility between ourselves and Raila’s troops,” he added.
He claimed that Duale does not believe in the BBI, which is an initiative of the president and Raila following their March 9 handshake.
The decision to settle on Maore is aimed at appeasing Meru region after Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki was kicked out as deputy speaker.
Maore served as Education Assistant Minister in retired President Mwai Kibaki’s administration. He also served as Ntonyiri MP between 1992 to 2007. He lost in the subsequent election, but bounced back in 2017 poll.
President Kenyatta has set next Tuesday as tentative date for Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting to ratify the changes that will see Ruto’s allies lose their positions in the House.
Also targeted in the purge is Majority Chief Whip in the National Assembly and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.