President Uhuru allies row over fresh bid to eject Duale
Eric Wainaina and Hillary Mageka
The fresh bid by a section of Jubilee Party members to eject National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, just a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta spared him in the brutal purge on his deputy William Ruto’s lieutenants in Parliament, is causing cracks among some of the Head of State’s allies.
This comes even as Kieni MP Kanini Kega, Duale’s chief prosecutor said his bid was in the top gear, saying he had garnered support from 120 members and would table the removal petition to the party for consideration any time from today since the signatures surpasses the required 108.
But Duale, who has also been lobbying members to abandon the Kega campaign, vowed to fight back to keep his position, even as he said the Kieni MP was fighting a losing battle arguing that his case was cased at the State House Parliamentary Group meeting on Tuesday.
“I am aware that the Member for Kieni constituency and the chairperson of the Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon Kanini Kega is allegedly collecting signatures from Members to impeach me and supersede the decision of the HE the President and the party leader of Jubilee and the party approving my position as a Majority Leader.
In any case the process was already completed yesterday in the Parliamentary Group chaired by HE The President to which Kega also attended,” he said.
Duale accused Kanini of allegedly planning to use the petition to extort from him, claims which the MP rubbished and termed them as sideshows.
But even as Kanini vowed to lead the ouster to the end, members of the ruling party even those who were initially supportive of the move over claims of disloyalty, opposed the fresh initiative in a move that could open a rift among the president’s allies.
While some MPs are appending their signatures on the vote of no confidence petition by Kega again, other pro-Uhuru allies have distanced and criticised the scheme.
And yesterday, Duale got a boost after 15 MPs from Northern Kenya, some of who are key allies of the President came to his defence, thanking Uhuru for sparing him in the purge that saw his colleagues Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali and his deputy Cecily Mbarire shown the door.
The lawmakers were led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, a diehard friend of the President, having been picked to chair the task force of the BBI process which is a product of the March 9, 2018 Handshake between Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, and whose politics are said to have played a key role in the purge against DP allies in Parliament.
“We are grateful to the President who is also the Jubilee Party leader for retaining Duale as the National Assembly Majority leader. We want to assure the President that we have been loyal as people of Northern Kenya and we will continue doing so by obeying and fulfilling all instructions of the party,” Senator Haji told a press conference at Lenana Towers, Nairobi.
Other leaders who accompanied him were senators Mohammed Mahmud (Mandera) and Abdullahi Ali (Wajir), and whose views reflected those of MPs Sophia Abdi (Ijara), Anab Mohammed (Garissa Women Rep), Dekow Imana (Nominated Senator), Nasri Ibrahim (nominated) and Dahir Mohammed (Daabab).
But Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who has been critical of Duale, condemned Kega’s plot arguing that it goes against the President’s decision to retain him, and a show of indiscipline to the Head of State just like the Tanga Tanga MPs have been doing with Raila.
According to Wambugu, who said the ouster is being motivated by “local supremacy battles” within Jubilee Party, Kega and his supporters actions we akin to the Tanga Tanga’s decision to fight the Handshake and the BBI process.
But Kega, who said he was kicking out Duale over various charges among them continuously opposing BBI, acknowledged that his initiative had received opposition from MPs who are allied to the President, but downplayed fears that his move will create a rift.
“There are few who will still not agree with us but as they say, the majority will have their way and the minority will have their say.
We have no problem with anybody saying the contrary because it is the principle of democracy that you give each and every person an opportunity to do what they want,” the MP told a press conference.
He rubbished claims that he was second-guessing the President by going for a man who he had spared during the PG, saying Uhuru did not discuss his ouster or being retained.