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Raila to drop ODM rebels from powerful positions

By Moses Nyamori and Roselyne Obala | May 28th 2020

Kimilili MP Chris Wamalwa at an event in April 2020. [File, Standard]

National Assembly Minority Deputy Whip Chris Wamalwa and at nine MPs will be the first casualties in a purge by the Opposition targeting allies of Deputy President William Ruto.

National Super Alliance (Nasa) will this afternoon convene a Parliamentary Group meeting to axe Wamalwa from the plum position over alleged links to the embattled DP.

The coalition is said to be considering Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu (Ford Kenya) as a replacement amid reports that ODM’s Caleb Amisi (Saboti) is also lobbying for the slot.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi said it will only be fair to replace Wamalwa with another Ford Kenya MP in the spirit of their coalition agreement.

“We have to demonstrate that we are still in the Nasa coalition by ensuring the seats are shared in a fair manner,” said Mbadi. Seven MPs are set to lose their committee memberships while two others will be moved to less influential committees in a bid to enforce party indiscipline.

Minority Whip Junet Mohammed yesterday told The Standard that the coalition had decided to dewhip Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa from all committees for six months. The Raila Odinga-led ODM also wants to kick her out of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) for backing Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

Agriculture committee

MP Sylvanus Osoro is set to lose his membership in the Agriculture committee, Bungoma Woman Rep Catherine Wambilianga will be removed from Education and Labour committees while Ugenya MP David Ochieng will be dewhipped from Health.

Butere MP Tindi Mwale is set to lose his seat in the Energy Committee, Lodepe Nakara (Turkana Central) will be ousted from Defence and Foreign Relations, Vincent Kemose (West Mugirango) will be ejected from Transport while Ahmed Kolosh (Wajir West) will be de-whipped from the Security Committee.

“The members will remain without committees for at least six months. We may later decide to have them remain out there for the remainder of their life in this Parliament,” said Junet.

Osoro was elected on Kenya National Congress (KNC) ticket while Ochieng belongs to Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) Party but were slotted in committees by the minority coalition.

But Ochieng said his party has never joined the NASA and neither does it caucus with the opposition Coalition in the Assembly. “As such, there is no basis in law or fact for NASA to even associate my membership to Parliament with their coalition. I understand the excitement in the air about parties trying to discipline their errant members, but you can’t discipline those that are not your members. NASA and its affiliate ODM should accept that we beat them in Ugenya and move on,” Ochieng said.

Kolosh was slotted in the influential Security committee by the Orange party before he decamped to Jubilee to defend his seat in a by-election. “We were philanthropic enough to give them slots in various committees but they seem to be ungrateful. They are free to go seek refuge elsewhere,” added Junet.

Other changes in the committee rearganisation include moving Kaloleni MP Paul Katana from the influential Public Investment Committee to Catering while Mohammed Lokiru (Turkana East) will be moved from Broadcasting to Security.

Rarieda MP Otiendo Amollo is to take up the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairmanship as replacement to Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, who is seen as a Ruto ally.

Junet said they will work together with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s wing in electing chairpersons of various committees.

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