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Jubilee, ODM lawmakers differ on committee slots

Friday July 03 2020
mbadi

ODM chairman John Mbadi and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed in a past photo. Jubilee and ODM MPs failed to agree on sharing of committee positions. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMWEL OWINO

Jubilee and ODM have failed to agree on how to share National Assembly committee slots created after Deputy President William Ruto’s allies were purged from the positions.

The two parties, which have been working together in the spirit of the ‘Handshake’, were headed for a clash on the floor of the House after failing to reach a deal on the leadership of three crucial committees.

The parties led by President Kenyatta and his political foe-turned-friend Raila Odinga are both eyeing lofty parches in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, Committee on Delegated Legislation and the Budget and Appropriation Committee. President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga Thursday had to step in between their troops to avert a possible showdown on the floor of the House.

SHARE POSITIONS

Sources told the Nation that a meeting between the Majority Leader Amos Kimunya and Minority Leader John Mbadi failed to reach a consensus on how to share the positions, prompting the minority side to threaten to reject the list on the floor of the House.

According to the source, Mr Kimunya refused to give in to the demands of the minority side to take charge of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and the Committee on Delegated Legislation, both formerly chaired by Dr Ruto’s allies.

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The legal committee is crucial especially at this point that the Building Bridges Initiative report is expected and most of its recommendations will be done through Parliament.

The Orange party has already fronted Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo to take charge of the committee following the de-whipping of Mr William Cheptumo (Baringo North)

With no agreement in sight, the minority side, according to the source, reached out to Mr Odinga who in turn called the President.

The Head of State reportedly called Mr Kimunya and told him to withdraw the list and engage the minority MPs.

TANGATANGA BRIGADE

“We had already mobilised our troops to reject the new composition of the list of committee members on the floor of the House after failing to agree,” said the source who requested not to be named to avoid jeopardising further consultations.

Key among the concerns of the Odinga-led troops in Parliament was that the Tangatanga wing which pledges their political allegiance to the DP, dominated most committees where ODM lawmakers were supposed to be elected as chairpersons.

For instance, Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga is poised to become the chairperson of Finance and Planning while her Busia counterpart Florence Mutua is set to become the next chairperson of the Education committee replacing Mr Julius Meli, who was de-whipped last week.

However, the composition of the two committees were mainly made up of the Tangatanga brigade, a factor which led the Odinga troops to question the motive of Jubilee and expressed uncertainty whether indeed they would agree to elect their members.

“We were not sure whether our members were going to be elected as chairpersons of these committees based on the membership in them,” the source said.

In the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, the presence of Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei, who is a DP ally, caused concerns to the minority as it is seen that she might be a stumbling block to most of the changes that will be brought in the committee.

FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE

Ms Shollei was de-whipped as the chairperson of delegated legislation in the National Assembly purge. “We are keen on justice and legal affairs committee and the delegated legislation committee. These two committees are very crucial in the reforms that are forthcoming hence we cannot trust Tangatanga group in them,” the source said.

With a possible fall out in sight on the floor of the House, Mr Kimunya withdrew the list which had been listed as order number 12 in yesterday’s order paper. While withdrawing the list, he said there is need for more consultations.

“This withdrawal will give us an opportunity to look at the areas where some members might feel uncomfortable,” Mr Kimunya said.

Mr Mbadi said there are issues that have to be solved as far the list of committee membership is concerned.

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