Fresh twist in Senate drama as ODM de-whips Ole Kina
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
The drama surrounding Senate committee elections went a notch higher yesterday after ODM de-whipped Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina, four days after he was picked to head a powerful House team.
In a letter signed by Leader of Minority James Orengo (Siaya), the Orange party said it had de-whipped Ole Kina, who was on Monday elected County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) chair.
He beat his Kisii counterpart Prof Sam Ongeri after garnering five votes against the latter’s four.
And in an indication of an escalation of the fight within ODM that has sucked in Deputy President William Ruto allies, a defiant Ole Kina dismissed the party move as inconsequential, warning of a long and nasty duel.
Shortly on learning of his de-whipping Kina laughed off Orengo’s letter saying it had no basis and must be treated with contempt.
“Today I chaired my second meeting as the duly elected chair of Senate Public Accounts Investment Committee.
The letter by @orengo_james has got no basis...Because this committee is very powerful they want a pushover. Not me,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Ongeri is said to have been the preferred party candidate, but Ole Kina floored him with the support of Ruto’s allies in a contest that was mired in the Jubilee infighting between Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga factions.
At the same time, Ruto allies in the House, led by Leader of Majority Kipchumba Murkomen, wrote to Speaker Ken Lusaka protesting Ole Kina’s removal.
“It is our considered opinion that the leadership of the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee should be left to the determination of Senators and committee members based on their party strength in the House,” said Murkomen.
“Reserving the position for specific political parties presupposes that the correlation between parliamentary party strength in the Senate and the formation and running of county governments,” he added.
Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga and her Meru counterpart Mithika Linturi also protested the ODM move.
Ole Kina’s win was shortlived as Orengo on Tuesday contested his victory, saying the party was dissatisfied with the conduct and the outcome of the election the leadership of the committee.
ODM cracked the whip on the rebel senator accusing him of defying the party on sharing of top senate watchdog committee post.
Yesterday’s party move effectively discharged the Narok senator from CPAIC and the influential House Business Committee (HSC).
“In accordance with the Senate Standing order 190, I hereby give notice of the discharge and removal of the Senator Ledama Ole Kina from the county Public Accounts and Investment (CPAIC) and the senate Business Committee,” Orengo said in a letter addressed to Lusaka.
“I express and register dissatisfaction with the conduct and the outcome of the election the leadership of the County Public Accounts and Investigations Committee which were purportedly done today.
We intend to withdraw our membership from the said committee until an appropriate resolution can be made,” he added.
A member of the committee, who requested anonymity, faulted ODM’s decision, accusing the party of interfering with Senate business.
“I don’t think it is going to have any effect because these are committee elections and have nothing to do with political parties,” said the senator.