Referendum panic mode? Coast Rebel Cord MPs to lose their perks
Rebel Cord MPs from the Coast will be ejected from parliamentary committees if they continue associating with the Jubilee administration, the Opposition coalition has warned.
Each of the rebels will also be given warning letters informing them that they risk losing their elected seats for warming up to Jubilee.
Members of parliamentary committees enjoy various perks, including sitting allowances and opportunities for travel during which they also earn per diems.
Elected members can lose their positions if their parties withdraw their sponsorship.
The decision to act tough against Opposition parliamentarians who get cosy with the government was reached on Wednesday after two parties in Cord — the Wiper Democratic Party and Ford Kenya — held separate parliamentary group meetings in Nairobi while ODM held its National Executive Committee meeting simultaneously.
The parties agreed that the decision to eject rebel MPs from committees or withdraw their sponsorship would be taken by a parliamentary group meeting of the affected parties.
Cord Deputy Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo accused the Government of luring Opposition MPs, especially those from the Coast, by promising them land to shift their allegiance from Cord.
Land remains a thorny political issue at the Coast and has been cited as one of the triggers of the recent violence in Lamu County in which more than 80 people were killed in June.
“We are going to kick them out of committees in Parliament and issue them with letters demanding to show cause why we should not withdraw party sponsorship. We will not allow ODM and Cord MPs to be compromised with issues of land,” Mr Midiwo told journalists after the talks.
His position was supported by ODM secretary-general Anyang’ Nyong’o and his Ford-K counterpart, Dr Eseli Simiyu. Both warned that MPs and senators leaning towards Jubilee would be disciplined.
They told their colleagues to bear in mind the decision taken by Cord to strip Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro of his position as the Minority Chief Whip and his replacement with Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu.
The decision triggered protests from Coast legislators, who warned Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula that they would mobilise their supporters to withdraw their support for Cord unless Mr Mung’aro was reinstated.
After he was stripped of his position, Mr Mung’aro dared Cord to go ahead and withdraw its sponsorship for his parliamentary seat. Another 23 leaders threw their weight behind him while five supported Mr Mwadeghu’s appointment.
Contacted after Wednesday’s closed-door NEC meeting at Orange House chaired by Mr Odinga, Prof Nyong’o said: “When someone deviates from the party position, a PG is called to take a decision. You saw what we did last time we met. As a party, we take the issue of discipline very seriously.”
He was categorical that ODM would not allow open rebellion from any of its elected leaders, whom he compared to a Christian openly denouncing the Holy Communion.
“When you have been given a responsibility, you have to be faithful to its mission,” he said.
Mr Midiwo alleged that MPs from the Coast had been promised land in exchange for their loyalty. “We will kick them out and tell their voters that they are benefiting from public land,” he said.
Dr Simiyu, who attended the Ford-K meeting at Parliament Buildings chaired by Mr Wetang’ula, said there was no rebellion in the party except for doubts over the stand of taken by Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani.
“The issue of rebel MPs does not apply to us. It is only our deputy party leader (Mwashetani) who is perceived, and I repeat, perceived, not to be loyal to the party,” Dr Simiyu said.
“He did not attend the parliamentary retreat because he was receiving the President in his constituency and he had explained that to us very clearly. His loyalty to the party is not questionable.”
At the Wiper party offices, the meeting chaired by Mr Musyoka endorsed Mr Mung’aro’s ouster. Leaders present said their MPs would work with Mr Mwadeghu, the new Minority Whip.
“Wiper fully endorses the change effected by Cord in Parliament and it’s going to play its role in getting Cord parliamentary group to work smoothly,” said Borabu MP Ben Momanyi, who is the party’s secretary for Legal Affairs.