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All eyes on Lusaka as court reinstates Malala

By Josphat Thiongó | April 25th 2021
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka. [Elvis Ogina and Samson Wire, Standard]

Focus now shifts to Speaker Ken Lusaka if he will heed to the court's decision to reinstate de-whipped ANC's Senator Cleophas Malala as Deputy Minority Leader.

This is in line with last Thursday's landmark ruling by the Political Parties Tribunal less than a month after ODM senators led by Minority Leader James Orengo (Siaya) resolved through its Parliamentary Group (PG), since they are the majority in the National Super Alliance (NASA), to kick him out of the House leadership.

Speaker Lusaka effected the changes that saw Malala ousted and replaced by ODM's Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo, despite being petitioned by NASA coalition partners Senator Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya), ANC's Musalia Mudavadi, and Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka.

"Pending the hearing and determination of this application inter-partes, a conservator order be and is hereby issued staying the decision made by the NASA senators on March 24, 2021, and communicated by the Speaker of the Senate on the same day purporting to be a decision of the NASA coalition removing the complainant (Malala) from the office of Senate Deputy Minority Leader," reads the orders by the Tribunal.

The order, if effected, will mean Senator Madzayo will vacate office and become the first to serve in the shortest time of over a month in the House leadership.

Lusaka is now a 'man' of interest after the sacked senators from the Majority side (Jubilee Party) questioned how he would navigate the same having ignored a similar ruling a year ago.

But the Speaker said: "Each case will be handled on its own merit. I am yet to receive any official communication from the court."

Malala was accused of alleged gross misconduct and mischief in the recently concluded Matungu by-election when ANC candidate Peter Nabulindo trounced ODM's David Were.

The ruling by the dispute Tribunal came just days after the Mudavadi-led ANC party, accused ODM of breaching their pact on positions by kicking out the Kakamega Senator from the leadership post.

They accused ODM of abusing its numerical strength in both Houses to bully and dictate who holds leadership positions in the National Assembly and Senate.

It further claimed that no internal process within the coalition initiated by either the respondent or any partner thereof on Malala’s removal from the office.

Lusaka however finds himself in a political quagmire if he implements reinstatement of Malala given that the Senate is yet to act on the reinstatement of Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Nakuru counterpart Senator Susan Kihika as ex Majority Leader and Majority whip respectively.

The two were the first to be hounded out of office last year when the purge against Deputy President William Ruto kicked off for allegedly snubbing a meeting convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In a move that compounded Lusaka’s woes, Murkomen on Friday moved to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with how the speaker handled his matter, shortly after Malala’s ruling.

“I am waiting to see how Speaker Lusaka will treat your case considering he ignored a similar order Susan Kihika and I got from the same tribunal when we were illegally removed from office. One year later we are still waiting a ruling from the Speaker on our removal,” said Murkomen.

He went on, "I wonder how in law interim/conservatory orders can be applied to reinstate someone after removal. In our case with we got the orders before Speaker Lusaka removed us."

Malala said the removal from the office and prevailing upon the tribunal to grant conservatory orders and reinstatement until the matter is heard and determined was a landmark decision.

Kihika responded, "Brother (Malala),  don’t hold your breath, Speaker Lusaka only follows orders from above! Ask Murkomen, ours never saw the light of day and they came in before removal. I bet you, he will say...it’s already overtaken by events... assuming he will even bother, he has never given a ruling on ours!"

But Lusaka maintained that the cases were different.


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