President Kenyatta, Raila clear the way for BBI in House

Thursday, July 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Parliament in session. Photo/PD/FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday  formally took control of the National Assembly, effectively clearing the way for implementation of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

This was evident after lawmakers yesterday approved the list of the reconstituted House Committees ending the differences between Jubilee and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Of special attention was the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) that is expected to deal with the BBI report.

According to the changes,  the committee will now have seven new members, all allied to  Uhuru and Raila after former chairperson and Baringo North MP William Cheptumo and a number of legislators  including Johanna Ng’eno(Emurua Dikirr), Gladys Shollei (Uasin Gishu County), Charles Gimose (Hamisi) and Ben Momanyi (Borabu), Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga County) were  removed. 

Those approved to sit in the new team are Majority Whip Emmanuel Wangwe, Minority Whip Junet Mohammed and MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Anthony Oluoch (Mathare Constituency), Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Naisula Lesuuda (Samburu West) and Robert Gichimu Githinji (Gichugu Constituency).

Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya and his Minority counterpart John Mbadi said changes were being made because some former members had performed poorly as well as in readiness for the tabling of the BBI report.

In particular, Mbadi was categorical that the changes in the Legal Affairs team were tailored to clear the way for implementation of the BBI proposals that are likely to make their way into the House.

“The Committee on Legal Affairs is going to have a very heavy calendar and workload because of the BBI report.

We have about seven new members in that committee,” he told Parliament after ratification of the changes. 

Majority of the MPs kicked out from the powerful committee are allies of Deputy President William Ruto who has expressed reservations about the BBI initiative that his spearheaded by Uhuru and Raila.

Brings order

Mbadi said the inclusion Wangwe and Mohammed was supposed to ensure discipline as well as mobilise MPs to support the BBI agenda. 

“The Hon Wangwe who is in the Majority side and the Hon Junet who is from the Minority side will bring order to the committee which we will need because of the heavy workload that the committee will be having like dealing with the BBI report,” he said.

Kigano is expected to take over the chairmanship and is highly expected to be deputized by Amollo, one of Raila’s legal advisers.  

The new members join Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town), John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), George Murugara (Tharaka), Jeniffer Shamalla (Nominated), John Munene (Kirinyaga Central), Antony Kiai (Mukurwe-ini), Soipan Tuya (Narok County), Adan Haji (Mandera South),  Zuleikha Hassan (Kwale County) and Olago Aluoch (Kisumu Town West)

However, the changes drew protests from some members who accused Kimunya and Mbadi of favourism.

The protesting MPs said that some of their colleagues such  as the Deputy Minority Whip Eseli Simiyu and Ainabkoi’s William Chepkut were placed in four committees.

Standing Orders stipulate that MPs should not be appointed to not more than two committees unless they are party of the House leadership. 

The MPs have up until tomorrow to fill vacancies in the reconstituted committees to give Parliament enough time to fumigate the respective rooms that the elections will be done.

The changes in the house comes at a time when it is understood that President Uhuru and Raila are considering receiving the BBI final report virtually.

The report from the Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji-led task force was awaiting the return of Raila who was away in Dubai undergoing a minor surgery.  Raila returned to the country on Sunday.

Kimunya who told his colleagues to seek the party’s position on those to take over before campaigning to take over either as chairman or vice chairpersons of the 21 House committees.

He said the changes had been made based on the lawmakers’ attendance of committee sittings from January to October last year.  According to Kimunya, 25 per cent of the members missed the sessions. 

He, however, clarified that the only members that have not been nominated to committee John Walukhe(Sirisia) who was convicted for a corruption case, Patrick Musimba (Kibwezi West) who made a request not to be assigned to any committees.

New list

“We have complied with the Standing Order and ensured that every member is assigned to one committee,” he said

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa who was removed as the chairman of the Budget and Appropriation committee and was placed in the Members Services and Hospitality – initially known as the Catering committee expressed his concerns that some members had only been assigned to one committee yet others are in more than two committees which is against the standing orders,

Former leader of majority and Garrissa Township MP Aden Duale Duale told members to take committee work while Mohammed warned ODM Mps intending to oppose  party positions that they will be de-whipped.

Besides Ichungwa, the others kicked out from the Budget Committee are MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), James Gakuya (Embakasi North), Nyaga Muchiri (Manyatta) and Gideon Ochanda (Bondo). They were replaced with Kieni MP Kanini Kega, Mercy Gakuya (Kasarani), Kuria Kimani (Molo) and Gideon Keter (Nominated).

In the new list, ODM will chair Finance Comittee to be chaired by Gladys Wanga and Florence Mutua to head the Education Committee.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega, who has been instrumental in the process of removing Ruto allies, will chair the powerful Budget Committee.

Kanu and Wiper parties, who have entered into cooperation with the ruling party have been rewarded to chair a committee each. Kanu’s William Kamket has been proposed to chair the Delegated Legislation Committee while Wiper Party’s Patrick Makau has been picked to chair Sports Committee which was previously led by Victor Munyaka (Machakos), an ally of the DP.

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