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Jubilee makes changes to key Senate teams

By Moses Nyamori and Roselyne Obala | May 27th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Jubilee nominated senators, from left, Naomi Waqo, Millicent Omanga and Falhada Iman at Parliament Buildings last Friday.[Boniface Okendo, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has completed a purge of senators allied to his deputy William Ruto as a top Jubilee organ meets today to prepare for the final phase of a looming shakeup in the National Assembly.

The party yesterday also officially announced inclusion of five new members to both the National Management Committee (NMC) and the National Executive Council (NEC).

Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju said no member had raised complaints about the NMC appointees. They are Lucy Nyaguthii, Marete Marangu, Walter Nyambati, Jane Nampaso and James Waweru.

“The NMC will meet tomorrow (today) to prepare agenda for the NEC, which will be meeting soon. I want to make it clear that the party constitution will have to be adhered to. We will not be merciful in regards to party discipline,” said Mr Tuju.

He added: “We cannot have party members taking a totally different trajectory from what the party leader wants. We expect totally fidelity from members.”

With members still reeling from the ruthless expulsion of rebels over the last 10 days, Deputy Secretary General Caleb Kositany claimed there was an agenda to remove him from the NEC.

“As a member of Parliament, my loyalty is to God and the people of Soy. I was elected to represent Soy and that’s my primary duty. It’s never about positions,” said Mr Kositany.

Tuju had warned that action would be taken against an official “who has been using the party’s stationery without authority”, a threat seen as targeting Kositany who had been issuing letters on the ruling party’s letterhead to contradict positions communicated by his boss.

Leaders punished

Uhuru’s men also punished three Senate committee leaders who voted against the motion to remove Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as deputy Speaker.

In the changes announced at the Jubilee Party headquarters, Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata axed Senator Samson Cherargei (Nandi) as chairman of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC).

His Bomet counterpart Christopher Lang’at was kicked out as chair of the Education Committee and as member of the Senate Business Committee (SBC).

Laikipia Senator John Kinyua was ejected as chair of the Devolution Committee and made a member of the ICT Committee where he will replace new Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio.

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi was removed as vice chair of JLAC and also ousted from the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC).

The four were among a group of senators who opposed Kindiki’s ouster. The others are Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru).

Mr Lang’at will be replaced in the SBC by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja while Cherargei will replace Mr Kang’ata as member in the Powers and Privileges Committee.

Nominated Senator Alice Milgo was picked to replace Lang’at in the Education team but as a member, while Mr Murkomen was selected to be a member of the Devolution Committee.

Murkomen, however, said he would reject the nomination.

“This afternoon, I learnt from the media that I have been proposed to serve in the Senate Devolution Committee, in effect replacing Senator Kinyua who is being punished for standing with me. Accepting the position will be tantamount to repaying loyalty with spite and treachery.”

But Kinyua refused to link the changes to the wrangles pitting Uhuru against Ruto. “It is within the mandate of the majority whip to move members from one committee to another. I don’t want to read too much in the changes, whether they are political or not, because I didn’t have special qualifications to be chair. I am equally in the Health Committee and will continue to diligently serve as senator for Laikipia in the House.”

Kindiki and Lang’at were picked to join the JLAC where they will replace Cherargei and Linturi.

Senator Fatuma Dullo will replace Linturi in the CPAIC. The Meru Senator was nominated to the Committee on Delegated Legislation where he will replace Poghisio.

Meanwhile, senators Falhada Iman, Naomi Waqo and Mary Seneta appeared before the party’s disciplinary committee chaired by Muchai Lumatete.

The trio, who are accused of gross insubordination after they failed to attend a parliamentary group meeting at State House last week, pledged loyalty to the party and its leader.

Ms Senata said she had been unwell and produced a doctor’s letter that recommended bed rest. Ms Iman also pleaded her innocence, saying she had sent an apology because she was out of Nairobi.

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