How Uhuru call saved DP allies from Kieleweke onslaught

Monday, February 17th, 2020 09:00 | By
Jubilee lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto address the press at Lake Naivasha Resort recently. Photo/PD/Kirera Mwiti

A call by President Uhuru Kenyatta last Thursday halted a plan by legislators allied to Kieleweke and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to kick out Deputy President William Ruto’s backers as chairs of key parliamentary committees.

The attempts to have pro-DP legislators removed as chairs of various committees bubbled to the surface during the reconstitution of the House Business Committee (HBC) that sets the agenda of the House. 

Sources said some MPs had plotted to block debate on the names in order to push for the removal of some colleagues, but last minute call by Uhuru to the National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale and some Kieleweke MPs saved the day for the Tanga Tanga allies.

The President is said to have assured Duale and some of the MPs pushing for the removal of their colleagues he would take action against rogue members allegedly bent on frustrating his agenda in the House. 

Speaking to People Daily on the  phone yesterday, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said the rogue MPs must be removed from the House leadership.

He dismissed calls for a Jubilee Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting, saying it will not resolve the wrangles in the party. 

“There is no need for a PG if it is not going to do away with the leadership in the Senate. We cannot have a leadership that supports criminals and crooks,” he claimed.

Those behind the plot have, since Parliament reconvened from its long December holiday for the Third Session, been working overdrive to whittle down Ruto’s overbearing control of the House business through his allies in Tanga Tanga.

The intra-Jubilee wars have split the ruling party into rival groups— Kieleweke, which comprises MPs backing President Uhuru’s Handshake with Opposition leader Raila Odinga and Tanga Tanga, which is  championing Ruto’s 2022 State House bid.

But even as the plot crystallises, the pro-Ruto MPs warned that it will not be a walk in the park.

Majority Chief Whip David Were, one of those targeted for removal, said they are aware of the plot, adding that their only crime is supporting Ruto in his 2022 presidential bid.

“It is not going to be that easy as they think. We have the numbers in Parliament, so let those trying to think that it would be a walk in the park bring it on,” he said.

Other Tanga Tanga-allied legislators, who did not want to be named, said they are aware that some of their colleagues in ODM and Kieleweke have been meeting to strategise on how to kick out the DP’s allies from key House committees.

Should the plan go on, all the Tanga Tanga allied MPs chairing key committees are to be replaced with their Kieleweke colleagues.

The disquiet in Jubilee has seen some MPs call on the party leadership to convene an urgent Parliamentary Group meeting to iron out the differences before they derail House business.

But Kamanda said the President’s supporters “will not allow a leadership whose main aim is to protect and cover criminals like it happened in the Senate during the impeachment of Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu”.

 “You saw what happened  then, the leaders who are supposed to fight corruption are the ones who supported criminality...” he said.

By yesterday, sources confirmed that legislators want Tanga Tanga MPs removed from chairing key committees and moved to low key committees such as Services and Facilities committee, Regional Integration, National Cohesion and Equal opportunities, and Parliamentary Broadcasting and House rules.

In the National Assembly, those targeted include Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa (Budget and Appropriations Committee chair), Baringo North MP William Cheptumo (Justice and Legal Affairs chair), Mandera West’s Adan Haji (Agriculture) and Pokot South MP David Pkosing (Transport).

The  Senate leadership includes Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Chief Whip Susan Kihika  and House Legal Affairs and Human rights committee chair Samson Cherargei are also being targeted.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the targeted lawmakers said they are not shaken by the looming plot.

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