Scramble for PSC slots by Azimio, Kenya Kwanza leaders intensifies

Speaker Moses Wetangula addressing the house during the first swearing in of the MPs to the 13th Parliament at the National Assembly, Parliament building on September 8th, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The battle for slots in the  Parliamentary Service Commission(PSC) will put to the test the unity of affiliate parties in the two dominant coalitions.

Four of the slots are reserved for the parties in government while opposition parties take up three slots.

President William Ruto-led Kenya Kwanza coalition will have two senators while two are picked from the National Assembly. Two of the four nominees should be women.

Kenya Kwanza is yet to decide on its four nominees, with key officials not responding to our inquiries on who it may settle on.

Holders of the PSC positions are entitled to lucrative allowances and a government vehicle.

The three slots reserved for the opposition have to be distributed in such way that at least one of the nominees is a woman. One of the nominees must also be from the Senate.

The main opposition parties are yet to settle on their nominees for these positions.

Wiper Secretary General Shakila Abdalla told The Standard that the party had settled on Mavoko MP Patrick Makau since he is well-versed with parliamentary affairs. Makau is serving a third term.

“Wiper has chosen Mavoko MP Patrick Makau to be its nominee for the Parliamentary Service Commission slot since he has the necessary experience having been an MP for the last 10 years,” said Ms Abdalla.

ODM and Jubilee are yet to agree on their nominees, sparking off a tug of war that now threatens to divide the coalition which will be expected to mount a united front when names of nominees are tabled in Parliament.

Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga is said to be angling for the ODM slot, causing disquiet from youthful legislators.

Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo and his Homa Bay counterpart Moses Kajwang had been eyeing the slots, but Madzayo is said to have shifted attention to Senate minority leader.

ODM national chairman John Mbadi told The Standard that nobody had been nominated to PSC or any other parliamentary committee. ODM’s Party Central Management Committee held its meeting yesterday.

“I would not like to be drawn into who has been promised appointment to this or that committee, when that is done it will be communicated officially, let us avoid speculation over this issue since it does not help anyone at all,” said Mbadi.

Long-serving Eldas MP Adan Keynan, now serving his fifth term and who served in PSC in the last Parliament, is eyeing the Jubilee slot. Eyeing the same slot is Sirisia MP John Walukhe.

Walukhe is said to enjoy the backing of the ODM camp due to his strategic Western region base.

Keynan’s Northern Kenya bloc is seeking his retention in the commission as a reward for the region’s support for Raila Odinga.

Jubilee National Management Committee is expected to meet on Wednesday to make a final decision on the PSC nominations.

ODM is yet to state when it will make its choice for various committees, with a storm currently brewing in the party over the matter.

PSC consists of National Assembly speaker (chair), seven members appointed by Parliament and one woman and one man appointed by Parliament from people who are experienced in public affairs but are not MPs. The Clerk of the Senate serves as the secretary to the commission.

PSC’s roles include; providing services and facilities to ensure the efficient running of Parliament, constituting offices in the parliamentary service, and appointing and supervising office holders.