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Uhuru, Raila’s allies in negotiations over deputy speaker position

Intense negotiations are underway to avert a confrontation between allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on the election of Senate Deputy Speaker.

Although initial reports had suggested that President Kenyatta's Jubilee might support Odinga's ODM candidate to return the favour for their support during the removal of Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, a highly placed Jubilee official said the party was fronting its own candidate.

The party, however, says that it is open to negotiations with its minority counterparts.

Yesterday, Majority Whip Irungu Kang'ata said he would ensure Jubilee supports one candidate before the actual vote next week.

“I will sit down with all Jubilee candidates to sort out the issue. I will also reach out to the National Super Alliance (Nasa) for an amicable settlement,” said Kang'ata.

Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jnr confirmed ongoing talks after it emerged that ODM and Jubilee party candidates were among five applicants for the vacant post expected to be filled next Tuesday.

The candidates

The five are Senators Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga), Isaac Mwaura (nominated), Judith Pareno (nominated) and Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi).

Pareno and Madzayo are both ODM members while Kamar and Mwaura are Jubilee senators. Kibiru is an independent senator.

“As a team working under Uhuru and Raila, we want to build consensus before Tuesday,” said Kilonzo Jnr.

Sources in Jubilee yesterday indicated that Kibiru and Kamar were Jubilee's favourites for the position.

Some top party officials are said to be pushing for the election of Kibiru to assuage Mt Kenya after Kindiki, who comes from the region, was kicked out.

Kibiru is also tipped for the position as reward for helping Jubilee’s Senate Parliamentary Group meeting achieve quorum to support the removal of Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru) from Majority Leader and Majority Whip, respectively.

Kamar, on the other hand, is being fronted to appease Rift Valley after Murkomen and Kihika were kicked out.

The Opposition is pushing for the election of Pareno and Stewart. Sources indicate that the coalition is prevailing upon one of the two to pull out of the race.

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