We won’t be cowed by Wiper action, rebel party MPs say

Sunday February 14 2016

Mwingi North MP John Munuve. MPs Munuve and Joe Mutambu declared they will not seek Wiper party’s ticket to defend their parliamentary seats in the next elections. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mwingi North MP John Munuve. MPs Munuve and Joe Mutambu declared they will not seek Wiper party’s ticket to defend their parliamentary seats in the next elections. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KITAVI MUTUA
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Rebel Wiper MPs have dismissed their removal from parliamentary committees by the party as an inconsequential setback that will not affect their re-election chances.

MPs John Munuve and Joe Mutambu from Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s Kitui backyard declared they will not seek the party’s ticket to defend their parliamentary seats in the next elections.

Mr Munuve succeeded Mr Musyoka, the former vice-president, as MP for Mwingi North while Mr Mutambu succeeded Kitui Senator and party Chairman David Musila in Mwingi Central, formerly Mwingi South constituency.

The MPs were this week dewhipped from House committees alongside their party colleague Regina Ndambuki (Kilome) over their alleged political dalliance with the ruling Jubilee Alliance and failing to toe the party line in the National Assembly.

Mrs Ndambuki was removed from the National Administration and Security Committee, Mr Munuve was kicked out of the Energy Committee and that of Procedure and House Rules while Mr Mutambu was removed from the Energy Committee.

“I’ve no apologies to make, I’d rather contest as an independent candidate than seek the Wiper ticket to defend my seat in 2017 elections,” Mr Munuve told the Sunday Nation.

Soon after their removal was announced by Minority Whip Thomas Mwadeghu on Wednesday afternoon, the combative MP angered his colleagues by claiming on the floor of the House that the opposition Cord coalition was led by people with “mediocre brains”.

“I am happy today because I feel liberated from the tyranny of dictatorship that had curtailed my freedom of thought and association,” Mr Munuve said.

POLITICAL REFUGEES
The alleged slur after Mr Munuve crossed over to the Jubilee government side prompted protests from opposition benches with Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi demanding a ruling from House Speaker Justin Muturi whether the action did not amount to a formal defection.

Prior to his election, Mr Munuve had twice failed to unseat Mr Musyoka in Mwingi North but won the seat after he defected to his party and was handed the Wiper nomination.

On his part, Mr Mutambu said they had done nothing wrong to warrant dewhipping and accused the party leadership of allowing outsiders to wreck the party.

“The people throwing us out of the party are not even our members. They are political refugees who sought asylum in the party after losing primaries in last elections,” Mr Mutambu said in reference to Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar who joined Wiper after losing ODM nominations.

However, Mrs Ndambuki, the Kilome MP, struck a conciliatory tone saying her removal from the committee will not diminish her respect and support for the party leadership.

Mr Omar, the Wiper Party Secretary-General, and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, dared Mr Munuve and his colleagues to quit the party and occasion by-elections in their constituencies.