Jubilee coalition plans to win key House seats but internal competition threatens to divide
NAIROBI, KENYA: Senate Majority Leader Prof Kithure Kindiki says the Government side is seeking consensus among its members eyeing same committee chairmanship positions, to avoid losing their leadership to the minority Cord Coalition in Wednesday’s elections.
The two coalitions of the Senate will be engaged in a face-off when the elections for the leadership of crucial committees get underway this morning, with the Government side seeking to take command of the all the 13 committees.
Though the Jubilee Coalition, which is now boosted by Senators allied to the Amani Coalition, have the numbers to ensure they win the positions, internal competition is threatening to divide the numbers, which could work to the advantage of members of the Cord Coalition.
It is for this reason that Kindiki said they will be working out a way to stem internal competition among their members eyeing the same position and avoid losing the positions to the Minority side.
He said his team will have to reach a consensus on who to support in all the committees.
“We first wanted members to declare their interests and campaign but since we realise that in some committees we have more than one candidate we will have to build consensus so that we do not lose these seats to our competitors who are the minority,” said Kindiki.
Two positions, that of Chair of Committee on Devolved Government and that of National Security and Foreign Relations were negotiated during the Jubilee retreat in Naivasha for Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Yusuf Haji, respectively.
Murkomen was promised the position after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto prevailed upon him to withdraw his candidature for Chief Whip, in the interest of regional balance, since Bomet Senator Charles Keter had been given the Deputy Leader of Majority’s position.
Some of the committees where the Government side will have to build consensus includes the Energy, Roads and Transportation Committee, where former Energy Minister and now Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi will be internally battling it out with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.
Sources have indicated that former Public Works Minister, Kisii Senator Chris Obure, will also be seeking to chair the same committee, forcing the Government team to work out a compromise to avoid losing the powerful committee to the opposition.
Jubilee Senators Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeria) and Kirinyaga’s Daniel Karaba, who was the Chairman of the Education Committee in the ninth Parliament, will be battling for the amalgamated committee on Education, Information and Technology.
Former Attorney General and Busia Senator Amos Wako, will be contesting the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee with Stephen Sang, while John Munyes, former Labour Minister and Turkana Senator will do battle with Isiolo’s Mohammed Kuti in the contest for Health, Labour and Social Welfare Committee.
Mandera’s Billow Kerrow and Kakamega’s Bonny Khalwale will be seeking the Finance, Commerce and Economic Affairs committee chairmanship.