Raila meets Azimio team to calm waters
The Azimio-One Kenya Coalition faces its make-or-break moment as its two dominant parties ODM and Jubilee Party, convene to iron out teething internal wrangles over sharing of positions.
Besides raging standoffs over the placement of members and leadership of critical opposition-leaning house committees, ODM, Jubilee and Wiper Party have also been rocked by fierce differences over the criteria to guide their choice of three nominees to the powerful Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).
The leading partners in the coalition, ODM, Jubilee scheduled to meet today as well as Wiper each have one slot in the powerful commission.
The three are the most dominant parties in parliament not forming government. Of the three slots, one has to be a woman while one of the nominees has to be from the Senate, meaning that only one slot will be available for the parties to fill the void.
ODM leader Raila Odinga has called a Parliamentary Group meeting this morning to quell disquiet in the party over House leadership before Parliament begins its sittings. Besides the leadership line-up, the meeting will discuss and come up with names of proposed chairpersons and vice-chairpersons for House committees.
While Wiper Party has already settled on Mavoko MP Patrick Makau to occupy its slot, ODM and Jubilee are yet to decide on nominees, whose criteria have to meet the roader obligations of the opposition parties on the three slots reserved to them.
Raila is said to be fronting his elder brother and Siaya Senator Oburu Odinga, against varying competing interests in the party pushing for alternative nominees.
Among these, is Likoni MP Mishi Mboko and Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang. Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo who was initially eying the slot is said to have ceded ground following his nomination to be the Azimio Senate Minority leader.
The retired President Uhuru Kenyatta-led Jubilee Party is, however, rocked in a fierce internal standoff akin to the ODM broader tribulations. The Jubilee National Management Committee is expected this morning to decide who between Eldas MP Adan Keynan and Sirisia legislator John Walukhe will occupy the lucrative slot.
A majority of Jubilee members and some in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) are said to be more comfortable with Keynan whom they say can be of great importance to their needs due to his vast experience having served in the commission for over a decade.
Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni said today’s meeting has been called to take stock on the party’s achievements and deliberate on how to take it forward.
Kioni said sharing of positions in Parliament will also take centre stage during the meeting.
“We must guide our members on what to do in parliament. We are the second strongest party in the coalition and therefore we want our fair share in Parliament.
According to Kioni, the party will be going for slots in the PSC and key departmental committees owing to its strength. Three candidates he said, have already expressed their interest in the commission slot, namely, Keynan, Waluke and Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere.
Waluke is said to enjoy the backing of ODM-Azimio wing, which is fronting Oburu to occupy its slot in the commission.
“Both are long serving legislators but we will have to make an objective decision that guarantees our nominee acceptance in parliament,” said a ranking member of the Jubilee NMC who did not want to be quoted due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Raila seeks to quell disquiet in the party over House leadership before Parliament begins its sittings.
Today’s ODM meeting will also discuss and come up with names of proposed chairpersons and vice-chairpersons for House committees. There has been disquiet about certain individuals in the House leadership line-up that was announced by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka last week.