Kenya Kwanza and Azimio shift election battle to control of top seats in Parliament

Ruto's side has 163 MPs out of 290 seats in the National Assembly and 24 in the Senate, while Azimio la Umoja presidential running mate Martha Karua on Friday claimed they had 180 MPs and 22 senators.

Speakers of both Houses control a budget of Sh53 billion, according to the 2022/2023 financial year, besides managing business of the government.

Already the names of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula (Kenya Kwanza) and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (Azimio) have been fronted for National Assembly Speaker. Garissa MP Aden Duale, outgoing Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi of Kenya Kwanza and former Speaker Kenneth Marende (Azimio) have been proposed for the post of Senate Speaker.

In the Kenya Kwanza pre-election agreement, Wetang'ula's Ford Kenya party was to produce the National Assembly Speaker while Mr Kingi was to take over the Senate position.

A similar arrangement in Azimio had proposed that Marende, who dropped out of the Vihiga Senate seat race, would take over as Senate Speaker but the coalition party had left open the National Assembly Speaker slot.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said that no name had been proposed for National Assembly Speaker during the pre-election agreement, but Kalonzo had featured prominently in the last few days.

The National Assembly and Senate, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The National Assembly has a total membership of 349, out of which 12 are slots for nominated MPs based on respective party strengths in the House.

Duale said the results of three constituencies were still pending and elections for four constituencies were deferred.

Yesterday, Ruto met elected Kenya Kwanza leaders and announced that 10 independent MPs had joined them and would bolster their numbers in the House.

"We also have four MPs whose elections have not been carried out and we believe that all the four will come to Kenya Kwanza," he said.

During the meeting at Ruto's Karen residence, Nairobi, he gave his agenda before Parliament convenes next month. Wetang'ula exuded confidence that they will sweep all the seats in the National Assembly and the Senate.

"We already have the majority in the National Assembly, the Senate, and even in the Council of Governors. We will sweep all the seats. We are already talking to other parties to form a bigger number in the House so that we can fast-track government business," he said.