No let-up in Jubilee purge as more ‘rebel’ MPs kicked out

President Uhuru Kenyatta with his deputy William Ruto and other Jubilee Party leaders after a parliamentary group meeting at KICC, Nairobi on Monday. More than 170 Jubilee coalition members attended the meeting. [File, Standard]

Six more legislators allied to Deputy President William Ruto are targeted for removal from parliamentary committees in the ongoing Jubilee Party purge on perceived rebels.

They were yesterday given letters of intent to discharge them from the leadership of various National Assembly committees.

The six legislators will join 16 others who have since lost plum positions in the House in the ongoing offensive targeting Ruto allies.

Yesterday’s casualties are departmental committee chairmen Julius Melly (Education), Ali Wario (Labour and Social Welfare), William Kisang (Communication, Information and Innovation), Joseph Limo of Finance and National Planning and Parliamentary Broadcasting and Library’s Joash Nyamoko.

Kisang has been instrumental in pushing for media sector issue. During this pandemic, he was able to engage the sector and through the Media Council of Kenya, secured Sh120million for cushioning the industry against effects of Covid-19.

George Kariuki, a member of the Communication, Information and Innovation committee, was not spared.

Deputy Majority Whip Maoka Maore signed their letters dated June 24, and asked them to respond within seven days before they are discharged from the committees.

On Monday, Majory Leader Aden Duale, a Ruto confidant, was replaced by Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya.

Last evening, the assembly made changes to the Committee on Selection and kicked out allies of Ruto. The committee nominates MPs to serve in committees, except for the membership of the House Business Committee and Committee on Appointments that is chaired by the Speaker.

The House approved the appointments of Maore, Jane Wanjuki (Embu),Gathoni Wamuchomba(Kiambu), Joshua Kutuny(Cherangany), Maina Kamanda (nominated) and Shurie Omar (Mbalambala). Others appointed are Wachira Kabinga (Mwea), Eseli Simuyu (Tongaren) and Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi. The House kicked out MPs Catherine Wambilianga (Bungoma), Tindi Mwale (Butere), Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South), Beatrice Nyaga (Tharaka Nithi), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Faith Gitau (Nyandarua),John Kiarie(Dagoretti South), William Kipsang (Marakwet West) and Robert Gichimu (Gichugu). Some of the members were recently de-whipped from various committees by their coalitions.

According to Standing Orders 172 of the National Assembly, there shall be a select committee to be designated Committee on Selection, consisting of the Leader of Majority as chair, Leader of Minority and not less than 11 and not more than 21 members nominated by parties and approved by the House.

And Standing Order 176 provides the process to discharge a member of a committee. “A parliamentary party may discharge a member from a select committee after according the member an opportunity to be heard,” it reads.

“The parliamentary party whip of the party that nominated a member to a select committee shall give notice in writing to the Speaker of the intention to discharge a Member from a select committee.”

The Speaker is required, within three days of receipt of the notice, to inform the member of the notice. 

ODM, Jubilee and Wiper are to occupy at least five per cent of the seats, which translates to 18 MPs, as per the Standing Orders.

Other MPs who have been removed in the ongoing purge are Gladys Shollei (Uasin Gishu), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu) and William Cheptumo (Baringo North). They lost their positions as chairpersons of Delegated Legislation, Budget and Appropriation and Justice and Legal Affairs committees.

Other chairpersons kicked out include Mandera South MP Ali Adan (Agriculture Committee) and Machakos Town’s Victor Munyaka (Sports, Culture and Tourism). Sirisia MP John Waluke, Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) and Robert Pukose (Endebes) were also kicked out as vice-chairpersons for Committee on Administration and National Security, Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee and Energy Committee.

‘Rebel’ out

Others discharged in the past were Kandara MP Alice Wahome (Justice and Legal Affairs vice-chairperson), Joyce Chepkorir (Labour and Social Welfare vice-chair), Khatib Mwashetani (Lands vice-chair) and vice chair of Services and Facilities Catherine Waruguru.

Also discharged were Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria (Transport vice-chair), James Lomenen (National Cohesion and Equal Opportunities vice-chair), Liza Chepkorir Chelule (Broadcast and Library vice-chair) and Cornelly Serem (Trade vice-chair).

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi communicated to the House about the changes last week, while confirming that the process of their removal complied with the relevant Standing Orders.

“Having perused the documents through which the Jubilee Party transmitted the decision to discharge the said members, I am satisfied that the process leading to the discharge met the requirements set out in Standing Order 176,” said Muturi.

“Accordingly, the discharge of the said members takes effect immediately,” he ruled.

According to Standing Order 179(2), whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of chairperson or vice-chairperson of a select committee, the members will elect new leadership within seven days.

Eight senators, Leader of Majority in the House, Kipchumba Murkomen, were removed from their positions last month in a purge that targeted those perceived to be disloyal to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Others were Kithure Kindiki, John Kinyua, Mithika Linturi, Samson Cherargei, Susan Kihika and Christopher Langat.

Nominated Senators Millicent Omanga, Naomi Waqo, Mary Seneta, Victor Prengei and Falhada Imanare are yet to know their fate.

Last week, the de-whipped legislators met at Jubilee Asili offices in Nairobi to plan their next move in what insiders say could lead to more political fireworks in the ruling party.