ODM secures leadership of watchdog committees
The Orange Democratic Movement on Wednesday consolidated its hold on the National Assembly’s watchdog committees as three Jubilee MPs rebelled against the stand taken by the party in the election of committee heads.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir was elected the chairman of the Public Investments Committee, leaving Butere MP Tindi Mwale of ANC complaining that his party had once again been shortchanged.
ANC is in a coalition with ODM, Ford-Kenya and Wiper parties.
Voting had to go into a second round after the first one failed to produce an outright winner.
Mr Mwale had led with seven votes against Mr Nassir and Rashid Kassim (Wajir East, Wiper).
House rules state that a candidate must get more than half of the votes to be declared winner.
Mr Kassim then stepped down and Mr Nassir secured 11 votes.
Mr Mwale protested against the gentleman’s agreement between Wiper and ODM that sealed his fate.
“These people have betrayed me but it is okay. I had the numbers in the first round but games played out in the second round making me lose the seat,” Mr Mwale said.
Mr Nassir will be deputised by Ahmed Ibrahim (Wajir North, ODM) who beat his Embakasi East counterpart Paul Ongili (Babu Owino) after getting 11 votes against his opponent’s eight in the second round of voting.
ODM MPs are also heading the Public Accounts Committee (Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi) and the Committee on Implementation (Narok North’s Moitalel ole Kenta).
In the Jubilee Party, Speaker Justin Muturi could be called upon to decide the fate of MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) after they were elected to leadership positions despite letters from the Minority Whip removing them from their committees.
Emgwen MP Alex Kosgey was also removed from a committee. He had vied for a leadership position but lost.
Mr Keter was elected chairman of the Labour and Social Welfare Committee, defeating Bura MP Ali Wario, who was the choice of the party’s leadership.
Mr Tiren was elected Agriculture Committee chairman, beating Adan Ali of Mandera East, who was the Jubilee preferred candidate.
Mr Bowen defeated Jubilee’s choice of Sofia Abdi (Ijara) for the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Mr Kosgey did not succeed in his bid and Kieni MP Kanini Kega was instead elected chairman of the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Committee.
Minority Whip Benjamin Washiali explained his decision to remove the MPs from the committees:
“There is a formula the party is using in giving committee leadership. We should see the face of Kenya in giving those leadership positions.”
The MPs said their clearance from the Office of the Clerk to contest in the committee elections dated December 19 did not communicate to them that they had been dewhipped from the committees.
“We were elected by committee members validly as per the parliamentary regulations governing the elections of House committees,” Mr Tiren said.
Mr Bowen said he will not resign and accused Majority Leader Aden Duale of intimidating members.
He said Mr Duale had called asking him to resign and the seat be given to Ms Abdi.
Meanwhile, William Kisang (Marakwet West) and George Kariuki (Ndia), who were elected Communication, Information and Innovation chairman and vice chairman respectively, promised to actualise the innovation centres in all the constituencies.