Ruto takes jab at Uhuru over House changes
Deputy President William Ruto appeared to take a jab at President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday following the removal of his allies from key positions in Parliament.
The DP, who has previously maintained a studious silence as his supporters were edged out of leadership positions in both the National Assembly and the Senate, turned to the Bible to convey his sympathies to his ousted lieutenants while apparently aiming a jibe at the President.
He tweeted: “With the changes in Parliamentary leadership including committee membership and leadership now concluded, I urge all MPs not to be divided but to work together in serving the people.”
He went on to quote from Colossians 3:23; “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not human masters,” apparently urging his allies who had lost leadership positions in the two Houses not to despair.
Ruto’s thinly veiled attack at his boss came as the National Assembly concluded the exercise to reconstitute its committees which has seen his key allies removed from groups seen as critical to the realisation of the President’s Big Four agenda and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
The President and Opposition leader Raila Odinga are set to receive the BBI report any time soon, which, among other things, is expected to recommend a referendum on constitutional changes that are likely to yield an expanded Executive.
Some of the committees, such as the Justice and Legal Affairs one, will play an important role in preparing and pushing the BBI recommendations through Parliament.
Those who have paid the price for their perceived support for Ruto include former Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale and his counterpart in the Senate, Kipchumba Murkomen.
Others who have been dethroned from their positions include former Senate Majority Whip Susan Kihika, her counterpart in the National Assembly Benjamin Washiali, former chairman of the National Assembly Budget Committee Kimani Ichung’wa and outspoken Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who was a member of both the Transport and Budget committees.
It is not the first time Ruto has protested the purge on his allies, saying they were being victimised because of their support for him.
In an uncharacteristic outburst delivered from his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu County two weeks ago, the DP complained that his allies were being threatened with all manner of punitive action because of their steadfast support for him.
“Initially, we were only talking about ethnic division in Kenya. Today, a new form of rift has emerged—political division. In the recent past, we have seen several elected and nominated leaders being ousted from positions in Parliament, and are also being fought on several fronts simply because they are affiliated to DP William Ruto,” the DP told a meeting.
“In the Kenya today, several politicians are being threatened they will be taken to court for alleged corruption-related offences, face tax evasion litigation, or they will be investigated by the EACC, and consequently arraigned.
Others are warned that they will lose their positions in parliamentary committees and other postings,” he went on.
In yesterday’s changes, MPs allied to Ruto were all removed from leading influential committees in the National Assembly.
They were replaced by those allied to the President, with Kieni MP Kanini Kega elected chairman of the powerful Budget and Appropriation Committee, while Kangema MP Muturi Kigano took the leadership of the powerful Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.
Kega was instrumental in mobilising his colleagues to support an impeachment against Duale, while Kigano replaces another Ruto ally, Baringo North MP William Cheptumo.
Limuru MP Peter Mwathi, who is allied to the Uhuru camp, was elected chairman of the Labour and Social Welfare committee.
Silas Tiren was elected to chair the Agriculture Committee formerly held Adan Haji, and will be deputised by Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru, who recently decamped from the Ruto camp.
Other pro-Uhuru MPs rewarded with positions include Fatuma Gedi (vice-chairperson, Administration and National Security committee) and Jane Wanjuki (vice-chairperson, Communication, Information and Innovation.)
Joshua Kutuny, a key anti-Ruto voice in the Rift Valley, will be the vice-chairman of the Health Committee, Ruth Mwaniki (Kigumo), vice-chair, Trade, Industry and Cooperatives committee, Gathoni Muchomba (Kiambu county), vice-chairperson, Transport committee and Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), vice-chair, Education committee.
Kanu’s William Kamket was elected the new chairman of the Delegated Legislation Committee, ODM’s Homa Bay Woman representative Gladys Wanga was elected chair of the Finance and National Planning committee and her Busia counterpart Florence Mutua as the chairperson of Education committee.
Wiper Party had Patrick Makau (Mavoko) elected chairman of the Sports committee, replacing Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka, who is allied to Ruto.
Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, who is locked in a leadership tussle with Ford Kenya chairman Moses Wetang’ula, was picked to chair the Constituency Development Funds Committee while Shinyalu MP Kizito Mugali will chair the Parliamentary Broadcasting committee where he replaces Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira) a Ruto ally.
Reacting to Ruto’s sentiments over earlier changes in Senate and the National Assembly, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat blamed the DP for the tribulations his allies are facing.
“Our partnership with the ruling coalition has started to bear fruit with the appointment of our members to key House committees.
We have walked ahead of the Deputy President in support of the President and his agenda. We are expecting even more appointments, our support for Uhuru is total,” said Salat.
Former ruling party Kanu has signed a cooperation agreement with Jubilee Party.