Discord in NASA as ODM elbows out ANC for PAC
The row in NASA over the sharing of key parliamentary positions escalated yesterday after opposition chief Raila Odinga’s ODM edged out ANC in yet another critical committee.
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi (ODM) beat ANC’s Sakwa Bunyasi by 15 votes to three to become the chairman of the powerful Parliamentary Accounts Committee.
ANC, led by Musalia Mudavadi, now joins Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper in saying it has been shortchanged in the appointment of House leadership.
It is understood NASA had agreed to give the PAC chairmanship to ANC. However, ODM, through its chairman John Mbadi, has denied the claim.
ANC secretary general Barack Muluka yesterday told the Star the sharing of positions is becoming a matter of concern within the coalition.
“We expected to see the fair sharing of seats among the coalition partners, but we are seeing the positions being hawked, not to parties, but to South Nyanza region. We cannot say Jubilee is doing bad things yet we are also doing the same,” Muluka said.
After the elections yesterday, Bunyasi said there was an agreement ANC would get the position, but promised he would not fuss about the matter.
“We are the first committee to go to elections. We will see whether other committees will follow the pattern that had been agreed on. I think what is going to happen is the coalition is going to be saddled with the outcome and have to deal with it and see how to move forward in the light of that outcome,” he said.
Last week, a group of Wiper MPs protested on the floor of the House against allegedly being edged out of the Parliamentary Service Commission.
Wiper is now required by the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to clarify whether it is still a member of NASA before Parliament resumes in February.
Yesterday, Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu (Wiper) won the vice chairperson position against ODM’s Florence Mutua (Busia Woman Representative) and Ford Kenya’s Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren).
Speaking to the Star, Muluka said the ANC is deliberating on the matter and said it will state its position at a “later time” because it is not satisfied with how the positions have been shared.
“How can we be satisfied when within ODM itself people are not satisfied? We have seen Coast ODM legislators and other regions complain. Also, look at the East African Legislative Assembly membership,” Muluka said.
Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka (Ford Kenya), who was eying the Public Investment Committee chairman position, told the Star his party was told the seat belonged to ODM.
He said the Committee on Implementation chairperson seat was reserved for Ford Kenya. He shelved his PIC bid for the Committee on Implementation chairman position.
“ODM should rethink how it is handling this matter even though it is the largest party in NASA. All parties need to be accommodated equally because some are complaining,” Onyonka said.
The PIC election is slated for tomorrow.
Two ODM legislators – Babu Owino (Embakasi East) and Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita) – are in the race for chairman.
Wiper candidates Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central) and Rashid Kassim (Wajir East) are also eying the PIC chairman seat.
National Minority leader John Mbadi (Suba South) has denied claims the PAC and PIC chairperson seats were reserved for ODM.
Mbadi, the ODM chairman, said NASA principals cast the ball on all MPs listed in the two committees to lobby and pick the chairperson of their choice. “There is no agreement on how committee leadership positions are to be shared the way Jubilee has done,” he said.