The purge to get rid of the allies of Deputy President William Ruto in Parliament roared on with Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki and National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale being the latest target.
Another target, the Majority Chief Whip in National Assembly and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, yesterday surrendered to his fate, with the rider that he was still “available” to the party if it still needs him.
Kindiki is among the Senators that failed to attend the Jubilee Senate Parliamentary Group held at State House last week and chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta. He, however, appeared at the Senate the morning after to preside over the debate on President’s action.
And Duale, previously thought as safe, is now back in trouble after he was sacrificed in the ongoing horsetrading between the parties seeking to shore up the President’s numbers in conduct of parliamentary business.
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Yesterday, the newly crowned Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kanga’ta (Muranga) confirmed that he himself has drafted a motion to dethrone Prof Kindiki. At a personal level, the two are friends, but in conduct of official business, matters have to be handled differently and Tuesday is the day motion will be tabled.
“I called the Deputy Speaker and asked him why he did not attend the PG and he told me that he did not see the text. I requested him to do a letter but he has not done so. I even sent out emissaries to him but no communication,” said Kang’ata.
According to Majority Chief Whip, loyalty to the party is key and Kenya is a democracy. In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Standard, he said there is no turning back with regards to restoring order in the party:
“If you think you have fallen out with the person who gave you a job, just return what you were given. These are party issues which are larger than me.”
Sources told Sunday Standard that Duale was summoned to an important office in Nairobi where the terms of his exit were discussed. We were unable to reach him yesterday as his mobile phone was off for the better part of the day.
For Washiali, however, the end has already come as legislators from his region have already negotiated for Navakholo MP Emanuel Wangwe to take over his slot. The replacement is among the demands the Musalia Mudavadi-led Amani National Congress (ANC) has placed on the table in ongoing negotiations for coalition.
The party also wants Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali to replace Mr Wangwe as the National Assembly Agriculture Committee vice chairman. Washiali told the Sunday Standard that he is a loyal member of the party and committed to it more than some MPs and leaders baying for his removal.
“I have been a performer in and out of Parliament in representing my party. If the party needs me, I am available to continue serving it and I am very proud of my tract record,” he said.
The legislator said it is the prerogative of President Kenyatta to decide whether he continues to serve as the Chief Whip: “Only the President can decide if I get de-whipped from the position,” he said.
The MP said the Jubilee happenings and his clamour to be removed as Chief Whip has nothing to do with his performance but pure politics of interests, which he has no control over.
In the Senate purge, Kindiki has been attempting to juggle between the two top Jubilee leaders, in vain. For many months now, he has maintained a studious silence on national matters and polarity of Jubilee politics. Kang’ata opines that the ground for ousting the professor turned politician is not malice but gross insubordination and outright defiance to the party leader and the President who gave him the job.
He told Sunday Standard that the removal of the Deputy Speaker will be in line with article 106 (2) as read together with the Standing Orders 69 (1) (b) (iii). Over the weekend, he embarked on mobilisation spree of his colleagues to get as many signatures as possible to support the petition.
“A parliamentary group meeting has been called by the President who is the party leader and members are refusing to come without any apology. It is bad. President had lost the control of the House and we must regain it,” said the Muranga Senator.
Kang’ata himself is a one-time ally of the DP. He told the Sunday Standard that he ditched the DP’s camp after the frosty relationship soared and the open defiance exhibited by Ruto.
“I have never attended any meeting where the President speaks negatively about the DP. I was surprised to see the DP seated and his friends insulting the President. He even failed to attend the PG meeting at State House. I can say that is defiance,” said Kangata.
He claimed that he told the DP to his face that he was quitting his camp: “I spoke to the DP and told him I can’t fight the Government and especially a President coming from my region.”
But as he starts his House business work, Kangata has his duty cut out-to reconstitute the committees and ensure only those who will drive the President’s agenda are elected into those positions. And apart from that, he says he will also push for the passage of key Bills, some which he claims, were mishandled under Murkomen.
The House committees that will see a purge include the Senate Justice and Legal affairs currently chaired by Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Education and Research chaired by Dr Christopher Lang’at (Bomet), Health headed by Michael Mbito (Trans Nzoia), Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations chaired by John Kinyua (Laikipia) and National Cohesion chaired by Nominated Senator Naomi Waqo.
As at yesterday only four Senators who had been cited for gross disobedience for failing to attend the State House PG had responded in writing through Kang’ata. The four include Senators Millicent Omanga, Victor Prengei, Naomi Waqo and Iman Falhada.