President Uhuru Kenyatta is today expected to complete the journey of purging allies of Deputy President William Ruto from key parliamentary offices.
By last evening, and saving any last minute interventions, the die appeared cast for National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali.
For seven years, Duale has been the face of Jubilee leadership in the National Assembly and carried himself with a fairly good sense of political awareness.
But yesterday, highly placed sources at the core of the purge confirmed to The Standard that Duale will be replaced by Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya as majority leader.
Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe will take over from Washiali while Budget and Appropriations Committee chair Kimani Ichung'wa will be replaced by Kieni MP Kanini Kega, according to the sources. Deputy Majority Leader Cecily Mbarire (nominated) will be replaced by Igembe North MP Maoka Maore.
Maore is said to have initially been fronted by opposition leader Raila Odinga as the majority leader to placate the Meru region after the kicking out of Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki and Meru Senator Mithika Linturi from their fat positions.
The sources said they will use the Parliamentary Group meeting today to deal with members who have been disloyal to the President.
“We will drain the swamp at the National Assembly parliamentary leadership team, we want to have a team that speaks with one voice and that has allegiance to President Kenyatta,” said a source.
During the Senate reshuffle, Ruto allies, led by former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Prof Kindiki and former Majority Whip Susan Kihika were kicked out. They were replaced by West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio (Majority Leader) and Murang’a’s Irungu Kang’ata as Majority Whip.
Senate is today expected to fill Kindiki’s position, with Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar likely to be picked after the Jubilee Party endorsed her candidature. Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, Bomet's Christopher Lang'at and John Kinyua of Laikipia were shown the door as chairmen of key Senate committees.
The changes in Parliament are said to be in preparation for far-reaching constitutional changes in which the legislature is expected to play an important role. Yesterday, President Kenyatta, in his Madaraka Day speech, hinted at the offing constitutional changes that could alter the structure of government.
“This is going to be the melting point for disloyal members and a reward for those who have maintained their allegiance to the president,” Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny told The Standard yesterday.
Unlike the Senate PG that was boycotted by Ruto allies, most of the DP's confidants yesterday said they would attend the meeting.
Belgut MP Nelson Koech said they were eager that their party leader had eventually invited them for a meeting.
"Uhuru is our party leader and when he calls us we will attend and we hope to deliberate on the future of the party. A lot has happened and we expect to use the meeting to ventilate on the issues affecting our party," said Koech.
Gatundu South Moses Kuria said he was looking forward to the meeting to express his views. "We have longed for the meeting, I will attend and I hope to get an opportunity to address it," said Kuria.
At the National Assembly, currently Ruto allies control a significant majority of the House leadership, beginning with majority leader position, chief whip to 19 out of 34 departmental, select and financial audit and money related committees, giving him an edge over Uhuru and Raila in the House.
Kutuny said once they resume sittings, they will urge the ruling party to make the changes in the House. "Their control of the House will be gone soon," he said.
There had been indications that there was a dilemma in President Kenyatta's inner circle on the purge in the National Assembly as insiders mulled over the need to retain some individuals in House leadership.