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JP plans multiple meetings as parliamentary leadership purge unravels

By Wainaina Ndung’u and Jacinta Mutura | May 25th 2020

There are conflicting reports about just how many meetings Jubilee Party MPs have planned to plot how to kick out party rebels from House leadership positions.

Most Jubilee Party legislators from Mt Kenya told The Standard that they were aware of the Monday June 2 Parliamentary Group meeting at State House.

But sources indicate that another meeting of Jubilee Party MPs could be held as early as tomorrow, May 26.

However, MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto confessed they had no idea about tomorrow’s meeting since nobody had invited them.

The pro-Uhuru group, however, said they had received calls asking if they will attend the Tuesday meeting.

Although none was willing to speak on the record about the agenda, some said the group needed to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta before the June 2 PG meeting to explore how to secure support for the impending purge.

There were reports that the group needed to agree on regional distribution of seats that would be taken away from Ruto allies.

“There is for example a deep feeling that the Senate Deputy Speaker seat taken away from Kithure Kindiki should be replaced with an equivalent seat to Meru region in the National Assembly seeing that the President’s side has no possible replacement in the Senate,” said a source aware of ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations.

Retaining seats

Another feeling was that seats to be taken away from rebels like Budget Appropriation Committee chairman Kimani Ichungwa and Moses Kuria who is vice chairman of the Transport committee should be retained in their regions.

Some of the Mt Kenya MPs being considered for senior House positions include Igembe North’s Maore Maoka, now on his fourth term, Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege who chairs the National Assembly Health committee, Kangema’s Muturi Kigano and Nyeri Town’s Ngunjiri Wambugu.

In a TV interview on Saturday, Senate’s new Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata said the party was unstoppable in its resolve to crack the whip on rebels, and that senators who voted against last week’s Kindiki ouster motion would be punished.

He said the party was deliberating on who would fill the position of Deputy Speaker this week, between senators Charles Kibiru of Kirinyaga and Uasin Gishu’s Margaret Kamar.

“We are looking for able person who will listen to what the party leader says and help him push government agenda in the House,” said Kang’ata.  

Meanwhile, Mt Kenya leaders were divided on whether Prof Kindiki should have been removed from the Deputy Speaker’s position.

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Mumbi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya yesterday separately supported the purge inside Jubilee Party that led to Kindiki’s ouster.

The governor urged Uhuru and Jubilee to extend the disciplinary action to the National Assembly and to County Assemblies the party dominates.

“Disciplining of the rebel leaders will enable the President fulfill his Big Four agenda through legislative support,” said Waiguru. Munya said Uhuru had every right to clamp down on rebels.

“You can’t contradict the appointing authority and still expect to remain in government. That cannot be democracy,” said Munya.

However, leaders of Njuri Ncheke - the Ameru council of elders, led by their chairman Linus Kathera, expressed disappointment over Kindiki’s ouster. They said it was done despite their pleas to Uhuru to spare the Senator.

Mr Kathera said the ouster was a blow to Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties.

Feeling sidelined

“We now feel sidelined because Kindiki is out of the crucial government position. He was our representative at that high level,” Kathera said.

Tigania West MP John Mutunga said Uhuru should have listened to appeals from Mt Kenya East leaders to spare Kindiki.

South Imenti MP Kathuri Murungi said Uhuru had his own reasons to act against Kindiki while Igembe Central politician James Mithika said Uhuru had acted decisively.

[Additional reporting by Joseph Muchiri and Phares Mutembei]


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