Inside Politics

Win for Ruto allies as they are proposed to head committees

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 06:30 | By
Ruto proposes budget cuts to tame spending
President William Ruto with Parliament Speakers. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Key allies of President William Ruto are set to win big after they were proposed to chair various departmental committees.

 A team that had been formed to place MPs allied to the Kenya Kwanza coalition in various House committees has concluded the exercise and handed over the report to Ruto for approval.

 Following the move, Ruto is this week expected to convene a Parliamentary Group meeting of the coalition to agree on the nominees before the House approves them.

 Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa confirmed that all is set for the PG adding that they are only waiting for Ruto’s arrival in the country to set a date for the PG.  “What we did as Kenya Kwanza is that we formed a small committee to place members in the various committees. The committee has finalised this exercise and taken the names to President William Ruto. We expect once she is back he will convene a PG for approval,” he said.  Barasa said the composition of the House Business Committee was not in contention in Kenya Kwanza as most positions have been occupied by the leadership of the party which was agreed upon during last month’s retreat in Naivasha.  “HBC is not a big issue, its membership has already been taken care of by the leadership and the speaker who is the chair, we are not in disagreement on the other few numbers,” he said.

 In its line-up, Kenya Kwanza has fronted Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro to chair the Budget Appropriation Committee,  Barasa has been earmarked to chair Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Kimani Kuria (Molo) to chair the Finance Committee and Nelson Koech (Belgut) to chair the  Defence and Foreign Affairs committee.

 Others in the line-up are Julius Meli (Tinderet) who will chair the Education Committee, Robert Pukose (Endebess) who will chair the Health committee, Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki will chair the Water committee while Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi will chair Agriculture commitee.  Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba has been earmarked to chair the Labour and Social Welfare, Haika Mzighi (Taita Taveta county Woman Rep) will chair immigration and diaspora committee, Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango) will chair lands committee, Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West) will chair Administration and National Security, Rahab Mukami (Nyeri Woman Rep) will chair Members welfare and facilities, Samuel Chepkong’a (Ainabkoi) will chair Justice and Legal affairs committee while Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama will chair sports committee.

 Nyandurua Woman Representative Faith Gitau and Nyali MP Mohamed Ali have on their part expressed interest to sit in the powerful Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) chaired by the Speaker.

 Kenya Kwanza decision came on the day the Azimio side said they planned to hold a meeting today to agree on the nominees of both committees and HBC.

Minority whip Junet Mohammed confirmed that they are meeting today morning to agree on nominees ahead of the afternoon’s sitting.  “We are meeting tomorrow (today) morning to agree on the names because as of now we are yet to do that,” said Mohammed.

 Leader of Minority Opiyo Wandayi also said that as a coalition they are yet to agree on the names of persons to sit in both the HBC and the appointments committee.  “We have not yet agreed on the names but we hope by tomorrow (Today) we shall have something,” said Wandayi.

 But insiders aware of the ongoing said among those being proposed by Azimio to sit in HBC apart from the Leader of Minority and the whips is Ruaraka lawmaker Tom Kajwang.

Ranging standoffs

 In the committees, the Azimio side has settled on nominated MP John Mbadi as Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which Embakasi East MP Babu Owino had claimed ownership.  In the contentious Public Investments Committee (PIC) which has been split in to three namely commercial, education and general purpose committees, the contention is on the position of chairmanship of the lucrative commercial committee with Owino also claiming it although he has been proposed to head   the education committee.  The party according to insiders is however yet to pick a candidate for the commercial committee as the jubilee party is also fronting Kinangop MP Kwenya Thuku.

 When contacted, Thuku said the party leadership has settled on him and is ready to take over as chair of the commercial committee. Besides ranging standoffs over the placement of members and leadership of critical opposition leaning house committees, ODM, Jubilee and Wiper Party are also expected to agree on the choice of three nominees to PS.  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.

 While Wiper Party has already settled on Mavoko MP Patrick Makau to occupy its slot, ODM and Jubilee are yet to decide on nominees.

 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 Homabay 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 Jubilee National Management Committee is expected to decide who between Eldas MP Adan Keynan and Sirisia legislator John Walukhe will occupy the lucrative slot. Walukhe was however convicted to 67 years in jail.  The move by the two parties comes at a time when the National Assembly is today expected to reconstitute the House Business Committee (HBC) in order to pave way for the vetting of the cabinet nominees.  The lawmakers who convene after the house was adjourned last Thursday due to chaos that rocked the assembly following the decision of speaker Moses Wetangula declaring Kenya Kwanza as majority are expected to approve the names of the 12 member HBC.

 Standing Orders require that MPs constitute the HBC as its first business for it to immediately retreat to plan the agenda of the subsequent sittings.  “Having resolved the issue of the Majority and Minority leaders we shall move to the next level which is the reconstitution of the House Business Committee,” said Wetangula.

The reconstitution of the HBC will also pave the way for the house to also form various committees including the Committee on appointments that will vet the nominees.

Appointments committee

 The standing orders require that an appointments committee should be formed seven days after the house has been convened but this has not happened due to the absence of HBC.  Last week Friday, the acting clerk of the National Assembly Sarah Kioko gazzeted the nominees to be vetted following the directive of Wetang’ula that the house commences consideration of the nominees.

 In his communication to the house Wetang’ula further directed that the report on Cabinet nominees vetting be tabled on or before October 27 so that Parliament can debate and ultimately approve or reject some or all the names.

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