House Speakers next battle for William Ruto, Raila Odinga

Mr Nyegenye has ordered staff to ensure the office stays open beyond normal hours to facilitate the process so that the greatest opportunity is provided to those interested in the seats. The office will open as early as 7am and close at 8pm.

"Completed nomination papers together with curriculum vitae of each candidate and supporting documents should be returned to the Office of the Clerk of the Senate not later than 2:30pm on Wednesday," he said.

However, the statement from Ms Kioko's office advises candidates to return nomination papers by 8.30pm today.

When the two Houses convene, the first order of business will be for the clerks to swear in the MPs-elect, which will be followed by election of the speakers and deputy speakers.

During that time, the clerks will temporarily assume powers of the speaker and, besides administering the oath, will answer any question that may arise from members. Nyegenye will administer the oath of office to senators while Kioko will do the same to members of the National Assembly.

The deputy speakers will be elected from among members of the particular House.

For the Senate, candidates who pick nomination papers for either of the seats must return them accompanied by the names and signatures of two senators-elect with a declaration that the candidate is qualified to be elected as an MP in line with provisions of the Constitution and is willing to serve as speaker of either House.

In the National Assembly, candidates must be endorsed by 20 MPs-elect with a similar declaration. Although a number of politicians had picked nomination forms from the offices of the two clerks, the contest had by last evening taken a familiar path of a two-horse race involving candidates from the two leading coalitions.

As a result of recent defections, Kenya Kwanza has amassed numbers in the two Houses that gives its candidates an advantage in the race for the four seats.

Lawyer Isaac Aluochier, consultant Oundo Jared Oluoch and Isaac Oluoch Polo are among individuals who have expressed interest in the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly and have picked up nomination forms.

Aluochier is best remembered as among lawyers who starred in the Supreme Court during the hearing of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020, otherwise known as BBI.

He opposed the Bill.

Others eyeing the seat are Ford Kenya leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

UDA's Gichugu MP Robert Gichimu has also picked up the nomination forms for the deputy speaker alongside Dadaab MP Farah Maalim who served in the same position between 2008 and 2013 when he was MP for Lagdera.

As Kenya Kwanza's choice for National Assembly speaker, Wetang'ula enjoys advantage and is likely to inherit the seat being vacated by Justin Muturi who has served for the last 10 years.

Sources say Kenya Kwanza high command has picked Uasin Gishu Woman Rep Gladys Shollei to deputise Wetang'ula.

Wetang'ula is a beneficiary of the pre-election pact signed between Ford Kenya and ANC on one side and UDA, which will also elevate Musalia Mudavadi to the new post of Prime Cabinet Secretary.

Azimio has settled for Kalonzo as its candidate for the position, whose holder is the country's third in command. This is likely to complicate matters for Maalim who being the Wiper leader's deputy, will have to shelve his ambition as it is unlikely that the Azimio coalition will sanction a situation where two members of a constituent party occupy the two seats.

Similarly, Azimio is fronting former Speaker Kenneth Marende as its candidate for Senate Speaker with Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo as his deputy.

In the pre-election pact signed between Kenya Kwanza and the Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) it was agreed that the position of the Senate speaker goes to former Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi.

If the pact is honoured, Kingi is likely to become the fourth speaker of the Senate after Timothy Chokwe (1963), Ekwee Ethuro (2013/17) and Kenneth Lusaka (2017/2022) because of the majority Kenya Kwanza enjoys in the House as a result of recent defections.

However, former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar's entry has weakened Kingi's entitlement. Unsuccessful in his bid for Mombasa governorship, Omar picked his nomination papers on Monda.

The battle between Kingi and Hassan is a political cliff-hangar and an obvious dress rehearsal for fight for supremacy at the Coast after the Supreme Court affirmed William Ruto as the president-elect.