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Murkomen and Sakaja may be kicked out of JP, warns Murathe

By Jacob Ngetich | August 4th 2020

Senators Johnson Sakaja, Kipchumba Murkomen, Cleophas Malala and James Orengo at Parliament Buildings on February 8. [File, Standard]

On the eve of a crucial Senate vote on county revenue formula, Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe put out a notice on the party’s three senators who last week defied the party position and sank its proposal.

In a strongarm tactic, Murathe said the party machinery would be deployed against the leader of the rebellion – Nairobi Senator John Sakaja – and his supporters, former Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Anwar Oloitiptip (Lamu).

Yesterday, Sakaja woke up to banners displayed in strategic places branding him a traitor. On Twitter, a betrayal hashtag carrying his name was trending. The senator, however, played it down, asking his followers to help “the keyboard warriors to earn their bread”.

But Murathe was unrelenting when he spoke to The Standard. He said the party would take disciplinary action against him and his colleagues for conspiring with fellow senators under the “One Kenya Movement” banner to shoot down the Senate Finance and Budgets Committee report.

“We are not yet done, we will deal with the senators for going against the party position. They will have themselves to blame for their parochial decisions. We will kick them out of the party. Read our party constitution, it gives room to deal with them,” he said.

Murathe said whereas the other Jubilee senators from the affected counties had their grievances against the formula, Sakaja, Murkomen and Oloititip acted defiantly and maliciously given that they had no credible grievance.

“How would you explain why the three went against the formula yet their counties had benefited? It is cheap politics and we will let them out so that they can go politic freely,” he said.

Sakaja and Murkomen led a group of seven senators from the counties that were gaining in the formula arrangement to oppose the vote, claiming they were doing so in solidarity with the devolved units that were losing.

Others were Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, Makueni’s Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Sam Ongeri (Kisii), Philip Mpaayei (Kajiado) and Boniface Kabaka (Machakos). 

“I challenge State House to apply the formula they are pushing in the Senate to distribute the national government budget for the next two years. If they do so the marginalised areas will start feeling the impact of the national government,” Murkomen tweeted after the vote.

In the formula, 18 counties saw their allocation reduced from what they were receiving in the second generation formula, a matter that raised opposition.

Sakaja is a former Uhuru’s TNA party chairman. He said there was no party position on the matter, and that a party position would only be arrived at if members of a caucus debate an issue and agree or disagree but move on with collective responsibility.

Party position

“Let them tell us where the party senators met, caucuses discussed this and came up with a party position.

The party position is a united Kenya. They are the ones going against the party position and we will discipline them,” he said.

“The party position is not Murathe’s musings or Kang’ata’s opinion. I am not scared of being kicked out, but they should read the constitution of the party.”

Today, Sakaja, Malala and Mutula Jnr have lined up similar amendments that will see the Senate vote on one after the other.

“We have put down measures to ensure the amendments to the CRA are passed, we have lined up three amendments and motion, all similar and will yield our desire,” said Mutula.

Sakaja’s amendment seeks to have the Senate pass the second generation formula to continue being operational on the third generation as well.

“We already have 30 senators ready to vote for the amendment,” Sakaja told The Standard.

Murkomen accused Murathe of being a poor negotiator. “Blackmail does not work on me,” he said.

But Murathe, a President Uhuru Kenyatta confidant, said they will today shoot down the amendments and instead prefer that the Senate passes the original Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) recommendation.

“We have the numbers and we will shoot down those amendments and revert back to the original CRA recommendations before the committee’s inputs,” he said.

Yesterday, ODM leader Raila Odinga, who had a meeting with Murathe on Sunday, asked the senators to revert to the CRA recommendation and pass it.

The Jubilee vice chair told off some leaders from northern Kenya for complaining about the reduced cash allocated to their counties when they were not auditing how the allocations were being used.

“Most of the billions to northern Kenya end up back in Nairobi, buying property in Eastleigh, South B and South C. They have pushed up the property market in Nairobi with the stolen cash,” Murathe claimed.

Meanwhile, a group of 10 MPs from northern Kenya led by Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi Sheikh have threatened to pull out their support for Uhuru and Raila if they continue supporting the new formula.

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