Duale safe as MPs meeting to discuss his ouster moved
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
The fate of embattled National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale is back in the hands of President Uhuru Kenyatta after the latter was handed a list of 126 Jubilee coalition MPs who want him sacked.
The new development came even as a meeting scheduled at Jubilee Party headquarters yesterday to discuss a petition by Kieni MP Kanini Kega seeking Duale’s removal was called off.
“After consultations it was agreed that the petition be forwarded to the party leader, therefore, the meeting scheduled today at party headquarters has been postponed until further notice,” read a text by newly-appointed Majority Chief Whip Emmanuel Wangwe.
Impeccable sources have told the People Daily that the meeting was cancelled following instructions from the President, who is said to be getting “increasingly tired” of the horse-trading by a section of his party membership.
The President is said to have instead directed the MPs to re-direct their energies to concluding the budget-making process, where key House committees are at the final stages of assessing the estimates.
Also, unrelenting pressure by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, the chairman of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and who is keen to have Duale retained as Majority Leader, is said to have contributed to the cancellation of yesterday’s meeting amid sustained push for his ouster from the Kieleweke faction of the Jubilee Party.
Addressing a press conference at Parliament Buildings yesterday, Wangwe said after consulting the party leader and officials, it had been decided that secretary general Raphael Tuju will communicate to the members when the next Parliamentary Group meeting will be held to thrash out issues surrounding Duale’s planned ouster.
“Therefore, I take this earliest moment to say that the meeting has been rescheduled from today to a date to be slated very soon, as it will be directed by the leadership of the party,” he said. He was accompanied by his deputy, Igembe North MP Maoka Maore.
“I will work with every stakeholder including the Majority Leader to ensure the agenda of the President is achieved,” he added.
Wangwe, the MP for Navakholo, confirmed that his office had received a petition signed by 126 members seeking to remove Duale as the House Majority Leader.
However, he did not disclose the grounds for Duale’s intended removal, only saying it was captured in the petition.
Asked if the party leadership, in particular the President, had intervened for the second time to save the Garissa Township lawmaker from angry members baying for his blood, Wangwe did not deny or confirm the assertion but noted that the party leadership is “active and alive” with the ongoing intrigues in Parliament.
“We will take orders and instructions from the party leadership, what we do is that if the leadership says go to point A, you do what A says...The positions we hold in Parliament, we hold them on behalf of the party leadership.
“Therefore, I would not want to say there was intervention on that matter (Duale’s ouster) but the party leadership has felt on its wisdom that the matter be handled at a later stage, as such we will go as that direction,” he held even he disclosed that he had list of 126 MPs.
The lawmaker observed that the petition had followed due process which requires whoever has an issue with the Majority Leader to write to the Whip. Once it gets to his office accompaniment by the list of members who have signed, the Whip organises a meeting.
Asked whether he too had appended his signature on the petition, Wangwe said: “Chief Whip is a leadership position but remember I am a member for Navakholo, there must be a distinction between those two positions; if my name appears on that list, it appears as MP for Navakholo, not as Chief Whip.”
“My work is to convene the meeting, that is why I will take matters to the floor of the House on issues concerning my constituency.”
Asked why members did not raise the matter of Duale’s ouster during the recent PG at State House, Maore said the meeting mentioned people who were to be retained and for some reason, the name of the Majority Leader was omitted from the list that was being endorsed.
“For that reason, we have received as the office of the Chief Whip a petition to the party leader that we need that message sent to us on Tuesday last week to be clarified and we have received signatures 126 of Jubilee members, which we have forwarded to the party leader, asking for that clarification by saying that we wish to propose the removal of the Leader of Majority,” Maore noted.
He said Standing Order 19 which provides for the process of removing a majority leader had been followed.
Meanwhile, newly appointed Jubilee Coalition Secretary Amos Kimunya has told Duale to step aside after he allegedly lost the trust and faith of the majority of Jubilee MPs in the National Assembly.
In an interview with K24TV’s Punchline programme, Kimunya warned Duale to quit early to save his image or follow the ouster route of Senators Kithure Kindiki, Susan Kihika and Kipchumba Murkomen, who, he said, were hounded out of office after they lost trust within the party.
According to him, one of the job descriptions of the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly is to bring the team together, to harness the synergies of all the 215 members of Jubilee coalition.
“If 126 members of the 215 say they don’t want you as a leader, and have they lost trust in you, then you are left with 90 MPs which is minority. What does that tell you?”, he asked.
Asked whether Duale is unfit to hold office, Kimunya, who is the Kipipiri MP, said technically the Garissa Township lawmaker has been good, but it is an issue of being a manager, not a leader
“You cannot lead troops that are divided with a majority saying they don’t want you to lead them,” he observed.
He explained that technically the fact that Duale’s position was not up for change during the Parliamentary Group, it meant he was to continue but members have since felt otherwise.
“If we are doing a clean-up, let’s do it properly to instill confidence, so that we don’t see the President looking angry because he is feeling disappointed that his agenda is not moving in Parliament or people are criticising him out there.
If the President is saying one thing and people misunderstand it. Others think BBI is about stopping someone from ascending to power,” said Kimunya.