How Ruto allies plotted to deny Ongeri CPAIC seat

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 00:00 |
Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina. PHOTO: FILE

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

It has now emerged Deputy President William Ruto allies in the Senate schemed to deny the Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) preferred candidate the chance to chair the powerful committee on County Public Accounts and Investments (CPAIC).

During Monday’s election to replace Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’, whose term ended, Narok’s Ledama ole Kina trounced his Kisii counterpart Sam Ongeri to win the coveted seat.

Kina had five votes against Ongeri’s four. Kiambu’s Kimani Wamatangi won the deputy chair position after beating his Murang’a counterpart and deputy Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata.

However, Kina’s win was shortly contested by Minority leader James Orengo, saying as ODM they were dissatisfied with the conduct and the outcome of the election and threatened to withdraw their membership from the oversight team.

Express dissatisfaction

“I express and register dissatisfaction with the conduct and the outcome of the election of the leadership of the CPAIC which was purportedly done today,” Orengo said in a letter to Speaker Ken Lusaka.

But in protest, Kina tweeted: “Raila Odinga is on record stating his election has been stolen and I supported him.

I was nearly killed in the last Resist Movement! Now what exactly does this letter mean?”

According to sources who spoke in confidence, Ongeri was ODM’s ‘preferred choice’ to chair the oversight committee with Kanga’ta being his deputy.

As stipulated in the standing orders, Ongeri was proposed by his Migori counterpart Ochillo Ayacko and seconded by Taita Taveta counterpart Johnes Mwaruma.

However, Kina took his colleagues by surprise when he got the unexpected backing of nominated Senator Millicent Omanga and Meru’s Mithika Linturi, key allies of the DP.

People Daily has reliably been informed that on Sunday, Raila summoned his members of the committee and asked them to vote for Ongeri as chair.

In attendance were Senate Minority leader Orengo, National Assembly minority whip Junet Mohammed, protagonists Ongeri and Kina, Ayacko (Migori) and Johnes Mwaruma (Taita Taveta).

At the meeting, the sources further indicated Raila prevailed upon the Migori senator who had also expressed interests for the seat to back down in favour of the 86-year-old Ongeri for “regional balance”.

Warn colleagues

A majority of Jubilee senators who initially had thrown their weight behind Ayacko owing to his sterling record as a parastatal chair and Cabinet minister later supported the Narok senator.

Omanga was categorical that the committee needed a young and vibrant member who understands the issues.

“We did not want a person who is likely to shield governors from accountability. This is not a Tanga Tanga issue,” she said.

Kina is said to have reached out to his Jubilee colleagues including Linturi, Hargura Godana (Marsabit), Wamatangi and Omanga.

During the voting, Linturi warned his colleagues not to vote for the Kang’ata, who is perceived to be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ally and key supporter of the Building Bridges Initiative.

Proper accountability

In an interview yesterday, Linturi and Omanga denied any politics in the election of the CPAIC chair and his deputy.

Linturi claimed  the 12th Parliament has been captured by the Executive to inhibit proper accountability.

“Parliament has been captured by the executive and that is what Raila is doing to dictate to us who should be the chair or not.

Our preference was Ayacko but when he stepped down after intimidation, we felt that Ledama is more vibrant,” he told People Daily.

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