Jubilee Party, National Super Alliance battle now heads to Parliament
By Mwaniki Munuhe and Jacob Ng'etich | August 13th 2017
The National Super Alliance (NASA) could be headed for yet another political humiliation in both the National Assembly and the Senate in a few weeks from now.
There are at least eight crucial positions in both Houses that political parties will be fighting for to acquire legislative advantage. The positions include speakers, deputy speakers, majority leaders and majority whips.
The occupancy of the above offices will be purely determined by numerical strength commanded by each parliamentary political party.
President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party tyranny in the National Assembly has swollen even further, giving JP influence on crucial positions an unassailable advantage. The same would be said of the Senate.
Jubilee has managed 164 legislators with KANU managing 10, Maendeleo Chap Chap four, and Economic Freedom Party five.
That means Jubilee and her affiliates command 183 legislators of a total of 349 members of the National Assembly.
This number does not include nominated members in which Jubilee will get the highest stake given the same also depends on a party’s numerical strength.
The effect is that Jubilee will not require to lobby any member beyond her own members and affiliated parties to win election of the speaker and chairpersons of crucial committees in the National Assembly.
The same would be said of situations where the government needs numbers to push its legislative agenda. The same would be said of the Senate because Jubilee has secured at least 26 senators compared to NASA’s 19.
This comes even as re-alignments for parliamentary positions begin to shape up, especially within Jubilee itself.
Highly placed sources with the Government told Standard on Sunday that some changes could be effected and agreed on at the party leadership level before Parliament resumes next month.
Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro is already facing pressure with factions of the party pushing for his replacement with outgoing Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga.
Senators Johnson Sakaja, Kithure Kindiki and Kipchumba Mukormen also being touted for positions of Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader and Majority Whip. There is however emerging pressure to have a woman occupy at least one of the three positions.
On Saturday, NASA maintained it will still field candidates for the said positions.
“We will of course present candidates for all the competitive seats in the National Assembly and Senate. We will lobby for numbers and win some of the seats, we will not sit and watch,” said an opposition MP who sought anonymity.
But what is tricky for the opposition is that unlike in the last election where there was arrangement on how to divide the seats, in this elections the more than five parties do not have a formula of sharing the seats in the bicameral House so far. It will therefore pose some challenge on how the coalition will share the seats including those of chairmen of the parliamentary committees.
It is not clear if both Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Kitui West MP-elect Francis Nyenze will win back their minority seats in both Houses in an arrangement that was pre-planned in the last election.
Public Accounts Committee and Public Investment Committee that are normally held opposition will be up for grabs by NASA.
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