Ruto allies forced out of plum House teams in BBI push

Former National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale. [Standard]

Key allies of Deputy President William Ruto have been relegated to less influential committees in the battle to control the House ahead of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional reforms.

This, as allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga land positions in committees crucial for the envisioned reforms.

Yesterday, the Committee on Selection chaired by National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya transferred some of the vocal tanga tanga members from the committees they had been nominated to and placed them in less active teams in a move perceived to tame their influence in the House.

Vocal Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa has been placed in Members Service and Facilities Committee. He had been nominated to the Finance Committee following his de-whipping as the chair of the powerful Budget and Appropriation Committee.

Pro-BBI Kanini Kega (Kieni) is poised to take up the Budget and Appropriations Committee while Tiaty MP William Kamket has been tipped to take up the leadership of Delegated Legislation Committee.

Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) leadership that was in the hands of Ruto allies Baringo North MP William Cheptumo (chairperson) and Alice Wahome (Kandara) as deputy has been handed to allies of Uhuru and Raila.

Muturi Kigano (Kangema) is set to take up the chairmanship of the committee deemed crucial for the reforms. He will be deputised by Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo.

The immediate former Majority Leader Aden Duale has been placed in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi while ousted Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali will now be a member of the Broadcasting team.

Uasin Gishu Woman Rep Gladys Shollei and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria have been placed in Procedure & House Rules Committee and Committee on Implementation respectively. Shollei was de-whipped from Delegated Legislation Committee, where she was the chairperson while Kuria was the vice chairperson of Transport Committee.

Pokot South MP David Pkosing and his Marakwet West counterpart William Kisang, however, remained to chair Transport and ICT committees respectively. This is despite their perceived association with DP Ruto.

The development means the minority National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition – apart from chairing oversight committees – will now chair Education, Finance, CDF and Broadcasting committees.

ODM is said to have settled on Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga to chair the Finance and Planning Committee, while her Busia counterpart Florence Mutua will chair the Education Committee.

Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, who is in a tussle with Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula over Ford Kenya leadership, is poised to chair the CDF Committee.

Additionally, ODM has also settled on Amollo as the new vice chairperson of JLAC, while Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma serves as CIOC vice chairperson.

The changes are set to be adopted by the House tomorrow during a special sitting by the National Assembly.

The changes agreed on yesterday were necessitated by protest by the minority side about the composition of some of the committees set to help in the BBI process. National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi said their main concern had been the composition of the JLAC and Delegated Legislation committees.

“But the Jubilee side has made some changes to the two committees. We are now okay. They have also made some changes to the Finance Committee,” he said in a previous interview. Sources told The Standard that yesterday’s meeting lasted about 30 minutes since most of the issues were agreed on.