President Uhuru Kenyatta will today chair a meeting of Jubilee MPs at KICC, Nairobi, to unveil new House leaders.
The changes are widely seen to be a continuation of the purge on rebels who are invariably allied to Deputy President William Ruto.
The President will address the MPs virtually from State House and unveil new committee chairs and vice-chairs to replace 16 officials kicked out last week.
It is not clear if Ruto will attend or where he will follow the proceedings from. But yesterday, the DP’s allies vowed to ignore the 9am meeting, which will also decide the fate of Majority Leader Aden Duale.
Inquiries within the Jubilee Party did not indicate a replacement was in the offing meaning the Garissa Township MP might as well survive. He has held the position since 2013.
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It also emerged that the push by Raila Odinga’s ODM to secure the leadership of two House committees could have met resistance from the ruling coalition. Inside sources said the President’s party had rejected ODM’s demands to head the committees of Justice and Legal Affairs as well as Delegated Legislation.
The Standard learnt that Jubilee wants Kangema MP Muturi Kigano to head the Justice and Legal Affairs, while Kanu’s Tiaty MP William Kamket is tipped to chair the Delegated Legislation Committee.
In the event ODM succeeds to secure the Delegated Legislation, sources said it was considering Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga or Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang’.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega is reported to be the favourite for the chairmanship of the powerful Budget and Appropriations committee. Kega is set to take over from Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa, who was kicked out for backing Ruto.
Sources said what worked to the advantage of Kega, who collected signatures to oust Duale, was the elimination of his competitor, Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya - a former Finance minister - on the basis of deep connections at Treasury.
The possibility of Kimunya replacing Duale was undermined by the need to ensure regional balance, given that Speaker Justin Muturi and deputy Whip Maoka Maore come from the same region with him.
“You cannot have three Mt Kenya leaders out of six occupy House leadership,” said an MP from Central Kenya. Opinion is divided on the changes, but some leaders suggested that if the appointments were to stand, then no perceived rebel should be spared.
Nyeri Township MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the retention or removal of Duale was the prerogative of Uhuru as the party leader.
“Duale’s fate lies entirely in the hands of the party leader. It will depend on whether Duale lost his confidence. The Majority Leader is the representative of the President in Parliament and therefore should have his full confidence,” Wambugu said.
He added: “The removal of Duale will have nothing to do with the signatures collected. The President had his reason to extend his service. It is a decision he made even as he promised to convene another meeting in two weeks to make further changes,” the MP said, referring to the outcome of the June 2 Jubilee Party meeting at State House.
Meanwhile, Kimunya, who was named the Secretary of the Jubilee Coalition Joint Parliamentary Group following the June 2 meeting, could lose the position to Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan. It is not yet clear why some MPs want him out of the position.
In the changes, Moiben MP Silas Tiren could be appointed Agriculture committee chair. It would be a sweet victory for the MP, who had been elected to head the same committee in 2017 but was dethroned because he was in the anti-Ruto camp during the good old days when the DP had influence over Jubilee affairs.
Mandera South MP Ali Adan, who was kicked out as Agriculture committee, may make a comeback as leader of the Education committee. Sources said his presence during a recent public briefing by Mandera leaders to declare their support for Uhuru and Raila’s handshake may have saved him.
Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny is to head the Transport committee, which would mean current chairman David Pkosing (Pokot South MP) could be moved to another committee.
During today’s meeting, Uhuru is expected to address the controversial opening of a parallel office, the Jubilee Asili Centre, by Ruto and his allies.
Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany said he would not attend since he would be out of Nairobi.
Kositany said it would not make sense for him to attend a meeting where he will not be given an opportunity to air his views. “I will not be attending. The notice was short and I am out of town. Again, we are never given the opportunity to share our views. It will make no difference even if I were to attend. Let them go on with their meeting,” Kositany said.
Aldai MP Cornelly Serem said he had no business attending a Jubilee Party meeting whose only agenda is kicking out leaders allied to the DP.
“I have received the message but there is no agenda for the meeting. I don’t see myself attending. If the agenda is to remove Duale, I have no business being there,” said Serem.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said he had other engagements at his constituency and would not attend today’s meeting, which he said was convened on short notice.
“I will not attend. I have constituency matters which are more important. We are not controlled by remote control,” Barasa argued.
“They are free to do whatever they want. They are in power now, but they should know the people’s power is greater and history will judge them,” Barasa added. Kapseret legislator Oscar Sudi, another staunch Ruto supporter, claimed that attending the meeting would not make a difference.
“There is no need for the President to call us to Nairobi when he knows what his decision is and that our attendance will not change anything,” said Sudi.
“We had Standing Orders guiding how leadership and membership of committees is to be done. Unfortunately, the President changed that, making such appointments to be at his discretion,” said Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri.
The new team will replace MPs Ichung’wa, Gladys Shollei (Uasin Gishu), William Cheptumo (Baringo North) and Julius Melly (Tinderet) who lost their positions as chairpersons for Budget, Delegated Legislation, Justice and Legal Affairs committee and Education. Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka was also discharged as Sports Committee chair. “We are still working on the final list. By tomorrow (today) the President will read out the changes affecting the 16 MPs in compliance with the Speaker’s seven days race period,” said an official aware of the events.
The June 2 PG at State House was attended by Ruto, who is also the Jubilee Deputy Party Leader, Secretary General Raphael Tuju and 212 MPs. They approved some of the changes.
The meeting endorsed Muturi to continue being Speaker, Kuresoi MP Moses Cheboi Deputy Speaker, Duale the Majority Leader and Jimmy Angwenyi as his deputy.
Some 126 of the 179 Jubilee MPs reportedly signed a petition sponsored by Kega towards Duale’s ouster.
The list has not been made public. It was reportedly sent to the president.
Wambugu said the president had been categorical on his resolve to have all organs support his agenda, especially for the remaining two years.
“He wants to effect reorganisation to have the right people to implement his agenda, including judicial reviews and the legislative process. This meeting will be the final part of his realignment in Parliament after the Senate purge on disloyal members,” Wambugu said.
Committee chairs retained include Paul Koinange (Security), Katoo ole Metito (Defense and Foreign Relations), Sabina Chege (Health), Rachael Nyamai (Lands) and Joseph Limo of Finance.