BBI, Hustler politics could split House as MPs resume sittings

Monday, February 8th, 2021 00:00 |
Parliament in session. Photo/PD/FILE

Hillary Mageka, Mercy Mwai and Geoffrey Mosoku

A showdown is looming in Parliament pitting lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto against those backing Opposition chief Raila Odinga with both camps lining up critical meetings with their brigades today ahead of the opening of the two Houses tomorrow.

Ruto is expected to hold a meeting of Members of Parliament (MPs) at his Karen residence today while Raila is set to host the ODM Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting.

With talk of an impeachment motion against Ruto looming in the House, the DP’s troops are said to be mobilising to come to his defense while the Handshake teams of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila will be pushing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

“We are meeting sometime this week to plan on how to tackle the Tanga Tanga group. We want to ensure everything by the Executive passes without unnecessary hurdles,” said National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed, a strong Raila ally.

National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya yesterday told People Daily that the BBI agenda will be the major priority. 

“We will also reach out to as many members as possible to ensure they are sensitised and understand the contents so that they will debate and vote on the Bill with full knowledge,” said Kimunya.

On the President’s agenda, Kimunya, who is also the Kipipiri MP, said they expected to depend on the support of their colleagues from the Opposition.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega said though the BBI project will be the major focus, the impeachment of the Deputy President who has been accused of undermining the President was on the table.

“Once we are through with BBI, he will definitely be next on the menu. You know I am the one who collects signatures here and trust me if I begin collecting these signatures it will not even take me three days,” he said. “The DP has become a friendly fire which kills.

He is the biggest impediment to the President’s agenda and is actually sabotaging him,” he added.

 Garissa Town MP Aden Duale, a strong ally of the DP, told People Daily that Ruto’s Karen meeting, which will bring together members of the Houses of Parliament supporting him, will be used to ventilate on upcoming business.

“All MPs supporting the DP including those who have jumped ship from other parties will be attending,” said Duale, the former National Assembly Majority Leader.

Shows solidarity

According to Duale, the meeting’s agenda will be how to build consensus on matters touching on the common Kenyan.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, another ally of the DP, said the meeting has been called “to organise our house ahead of the reopening of Parliament”.

“We also want to show solidarity with our leader and plan on how to tackle business ahead of the reopening.

However, it is him (Ruto) who has the agenda of the day which he will table today,” Gachagua said.

On his part, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said the Ruto brigade intends to use the forum to plan ahead of the resumption of Parliament.

“Ours will be a member’s caucus of like-minded Parliamentarians to deliberate on priority issues affecting our people, including economic revival and how to bring the collapsing health sector back to its feet,” said Ichung’wa.

Though the agenda of the meeting was not readily available, People Daily has established that Ruto will be seeking to consolidate his numbers in both Houses of Parliament should the impeachment motion become a reality.

DP allies will also take a common stand on the BBI referendum quest, which is likely to be brought in the House by end of March, should 24 county assemblies approve it and forward to Parliament for consideration.

Parliament, where the Bill needs only half of the members of each House to pass, the DP will be seeking to have a say on its progress.

Although Lugari MP Ayub Savula (Amani National Congress) says he will introduce the motion, Ruto’s supporters believe it is Uhuru and Raila’s supporters who are behind the impeachment plot.

Yesterday, North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko and his West Mugirango counterpart Vincent Kemosi Mogaka confirmed they will be attending the Karen meeting.

“We are basically meeting for a PG of MPs who support the Deputy President to set up an agenda for parliamentary business.

This will be an opportunity to meet and discuss matters of the party, and agenda of the house,” Nyamoko said.

But according to Mogaka, the breakfast-cum-consultative meeting is expected to build consensus on many national issues including BBI and draw a roadmap to 2022.

“I do not think the issue of impeachment will arise in the meeting because we are not aware of any impeachment motion.

As and when it comes up in the house we are ready to deal with any impeachment,” said Mogaka.

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