Uhuru, Ruto allies clash over key Senate positions

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 02:00 |
Senate in session. The House meets this afternoon to vote on a motion to reconstitute committees. Photo/PD/FILE

A showdown is in the offing in the Senate between allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta-ODM leader Raila Odinga axis and those of Deputy President William Ruto as the House reconvenes this afternoon to vote on a motion to reconstitute committees.

Ruto’s allies, a majority of who were affected by last year’s Jubilee purge, are planning to defeat the motion which is sponsored by Leader of Majority Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot). 

The motion, which Ruto’s allies say is illegal, seeks to have various House committees reconstituted and new leaders elected.

In the changes, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi is expected to relinquish his position as chair of the Committee on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) to head the Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations.

Nyandarua Senator Paul Mwangi Githiomi, a close ally of the President, has also been proposed to serve as a Member of the committee.

Gideon would replace the late Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji as chair of the influential committee.

Kisumu Senator Fred Outa has been acting as chair of the committee since Haji’s death in February.

“The reconstitution of committees is illegal and unjustified. It will flop on the floor of the Senate,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, a key ally of Ruto, told People Daily yesterday.

Speakers panel

Supporters of Uhuru and Raila want Poghisio to succeed Gideon as the chair of the ICT committee and relinquish his membership of the committee on Lands, Environment and Natural resources.

Gideon’s position in the ICT committee is expected to be taken by Mandera Senator Mahamud Maalim, a supporter of Ruto.

“Without preempting debate on the Substantive Motions, the proposed changes are aimed at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in Committee business,” Deputy Leader of Majority Senator Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo) told the House on Thursday as she sought approval of senators on reconstitution of Membership of the Select Committees.

Rising on a point of order, Mahamud said: “We are discussing a very substantive matter of rearranging of Committees here and the Speaker’s Panel and the House has no quorum. It should not be proper to discuss matters this serious at this time.”

While the session chair Nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga allowed the Motion to proceed after ascertaining there was quorum, Leader of Minority   James Orengo (Siaya) called for adjournment of the motion to build consensus.

“I would suggest that before we bring the two Motions to the House, we have a Kamukunji on Tuesday to resolve this issue. If the House is not in agreement then it cannot be called a Committee of the House,” Orengo said.

In the Committee of Powers and Privileges, senators Naomi Waqo (Nominated) Christine Zawadi (Nominated) and Abdulkadir Haji (Garissa) have been nominated to replace Alice Milgo (Nominated), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu).

Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri has been proposed to serve in the Sessional Committee on Delegated Legislation, replacing his Nyamira counterpart Okong’o Omogeni, who chairs the House committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

Ongeri has also been identified to replace Migori’s Ochillo Ayacko at Committee on Finance and Budget.

Ayacko succeeded Ongeri as the chairman of the County Public Accounts and Investment committee.

Ruto allies who were kicked out of their committee positions last year are also poised to make a comeback to various committees with Kericho senator Aaron Cheruiyot being listed to replace Embu’s Njeru Ndwiga as a member of the committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Telations.

Cherargei and Irungu Kang’ata, (Murang’a), who was kicked out as Majority Whip, have been proposed to serve as members of the committee.

Ndwiga chairs the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and her Laikipia counterpart John Kinyua have been lined up to serve as members of the Energy committee replacing Nominated Senator Abshiro Halake and Murkomen.

Bungoma’s Moses Wetangula is also listed to replace his Turkana counterpart Imana Malachy Ekal in the committee.

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