Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar smoothly scaled up the ladder to the vacant Senate deputy speaker seat yesterday in the shadows of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Opposition Chief Raila Odinga and Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi.
In a historic first, Prof Kamar was yesterday elected unopposed as the Senate deputy speaker taking over from embattled fellow professor Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi), who was impeached last month.
A former university lecturer, Kamar’s competitors were ODM’s Steward Madzayo (Kilifi) and Judith Pareno (nominated) and Jubilee’s Isaac Mwaura (nominated) and Charles Kibiru (Independent, Kirinyaga).
However, the four withdrew from the race, leaving the Uasin Gishu Senator as the sole candidate for the lucrative Deputy Speaker’s post.
“The four senators by notice in writing to the Clerk, withdrew their candidature for election to the Office of Deputy Speaker.
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“This leaves Kamar as the only candidate for election to the Office of the Deputy Speaker. Accordingly, I hereby declare Kamar to be duly elected as Deputy Speaker of the Senate,” Lusaka said.
Standing Order 11 as read together with Standing Order 13(4) states that in the event that there is only one candidate who has been duly nominated for election as Deputy Speaker, that candidate will be declared forthwith to have been elected without any ballot or vote being required. The Standard has established that Raila had on Saturday hosted the Senate leadership at Capitol Hill and asked them to prevail on all other candidates to withdraw from the race in favour of Kamar.
Those at the meeting included Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot), his deputy Ms Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), their Minority counterpart James Orengo (Siaya), Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata (Muranga) and the Deputy Minority Whip Ms Beatrice Kwamboka (nominated).
“Kamar was best suited not only on account of gender, but also to appease the North Rift region who previously had Murkomen,” said a senator who sought anonymity.
A section of Jubilee senators had last week settled on Senator Kibiru to take over the Deputy Speaker’s seat but the Kirinyaga Senator stepped down.
Kibiru was the first person to withdraw from the race soon after Kang’ata announced on Twitter that Jubilee party will support Kamar.
It is for this reason that Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi congratulated Kamar on her election.
“We have never forgotten the sacrifices Kamar had to make for the bigger course where she stood with the 2010 Constitution and for standing with the Orange party in 2013 on principle,” Wandayi said.