With loyalty pledge elsewhere, why is Irungu Kang’ata dying for, on Majority Whip seat

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 06:07 |
Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata. PHOTO/COURTESY


Politics in Kenya never ceases to amaze.

A politician will continually complain how he does not subscribe to policies of a political party he belongs to but still cling to the party membership. They will “differ” with the position of the party on a particular motion that is being tabled on the floor of Parliament and still insist on leading the same party’s argument in the House.

Kenya must be one of the very few countries in the world where the ruling party proposes a motion in Parliament and the same ruling party opposes it and everyone thinks it is normal!

Of course as a country we have come to accept and live with very strange scenarios. We live in a country where a deputy party leader disagrees publicly with his party leader on national policy directives, campaigns aggressively against the leader’s preferred positions and even paints the leader in a negative picture all in the name of democracy and we see no evil in that.

But something is weirdly wrong with a party chief whip who does not believe in the party’s ideologies but still goes out of their way to protect his position as chief whip. In which direction is such a whip expected to whip his fellow legislators?

Over the weekend, Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang'ata made a startling revelation. He claimed his party intended to remove him from his position but he survived the ouster not because he proved loyalty but because some party rebels came to his rescue “denying the party the numbers it needs”.

Am I the only one seeing this irony?  

Mr Kang'ata says that Jubilee Party had plotted to remove him from the position but Deputy President William Ruto's camp came to his rescue. For those new in Jerusalem, Jubilee is the ruling party in Kenya and holds the majority in both the National Assembly and the Senate. It is led by President Uhuru Kenyatta as Party Leader and Deputy President William Ruto as Deputy Party Leader. Over time, the party has developed leadership cracks with two factions emerging. The President leads one, famously known as Kieleweke and DP Ruto leads another going by the Tangatanga name.

Mr Kang'ata rose to the position following last year’s de-whipping of senators affiliated to Tangatanga faction. He replaced Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika during a session that was characterised by tear-shedding and loyalty pledging by the outgoing and incoming respectively. It is the same group in whose removal he actively participated that Kang’ata now says has come to his rescue.

He says his woes in Kieleweke began immediately his December 30 open letter to the president  warning him that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was bound to flop in Mt Kenya region was published by the media on January 4. He alleges he started receiving phone calls from “all powerful institutions in this government demanding that he renounces the letter and be funded to go to the grassroots and speak well of BBI, all of which he refused.

Assuming, his claims are true. Why would a lieutenant disregard instructions from his generals?  It could be true that BBI is not the most popular thing in Central region from where Mr Kang’ata hails. But isn’t it also true that one needs the strongest ambassadors in places where they are least popular. Is Kang’ata saying he only sells policies where they are already embraced? More like preaching to the converted? If that is the truth, then that’s my description of a useless asset!

The Murang'a senator says the next scheme after the plan to coerce him to conform flopped was to kick him out of the prestigious senate's perch. What the hell is he still doing at the perch when he doesn’t believe in the tree? I thought the honourable thing to do as an ambassador once you realise that you don’t believe in the policies of an administration is tender your resignation?

Now Kang’ata claims “after they realised they don't have the numbers … they have now reverted to using hard power of sending investigators for politics,". The hard power he is alluding to is the fact his law firm is one of the 25 others being probed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over possible fraud in billing the Nairobi County government exorbitant legal charges. Mr Kang'ata confirms he received Sh3.3 million from City Hall in 2018. EACC’s main business is investigating fraud in use or acquisition of public resources. City Hall is as public resources as they come. Because EACC does not convict, Kang’ata should wait for his day in court, if it ever comes, to wade off conviction. Otherwise, he is just crying wolf.

The Jubilee senator also alleged that the Jubilee Party, on whose ticket he intends to seek Murang’a’s gubernatorial seat, remains unpopular in Mt Kenya. He has the choice to quit the party and join a more popular one now that it apparent he can’t popularize any.

And then the final confession: “Mr Kang'ata has since admitted that he is retracing his political loyalty to Tangatanga as it is my brainchild, a founder member and Dr Ruto's chief marketer since 2013 in Mt Kenya region". Why is he still holding onto that office?

Michael Cherambos comments on topical socio-political issues; [email protected]

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