A last minute intervention by ODM leader Raila Odinga has brought hope for Uasin Gishu Senator Margret Kamar in the battle for the vacant position of Senate Deputy Speaker.
Mr Odinga’s intervention is the reason behind Monday’s withdrawal of Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru and Kilifi’s Stewart Madzayo from the race.
Mr Kibiru said he had consulted widely and decided to withdraw from the race out of the desire to promote greater gender equity.
“At this time the President is fostering coherence in the country, it would be derelict of me not to view my victory as merely pyrrhic,” Mr Kibiru said in statement of withdrawal.
“The ongoing remake of our politics calls for sacrifice, some of which may be personal in nature.”
Mr Madzayo said he had decided to withdraw after wide consultations with his supporters, colleagues at the Senate and within the ODM party, including Mr Odinga.
“I believe my decision to no longer run for the post will advance gender equity, a spirit I passionately subscribe to,” Mr Madzayo said, adding that his decision is premised majorly on the need to continue supporting the political coherence currently being advanced by Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta
A section of Jubilee senators had last week settled on Mr Kibiru to take over the seat that has been vacant since the removal of Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki two weeks ago.
MOLLIFY NORTH RIFT
But in a quick action, Mr Odinga, who sources say has become influential in the affairs of Jubilee Party, summoned the Senate top leadership to drum up support for Ms Kamar on the account of gender and in the hope it will mollify the increasingly disenchanted North Rift region in the wake of the removal of Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen as the majority leader.
The Nation has learnt that the ODM leader on Saturday hosted the Senate leadership at Capitol Hill and asked them to lobby all other candidates to withdraw from the race and instead support Ms Kamar.
Those at the meeting included Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio, Mr James Orengo (Minority Leader), Mr Irungu Kangata (Majority Whip), Ms Fatuma Dullo (Deputy Majority Leader) and Ms Beatrice Kwamboka (Deputy Minority Whip).
“Mr Odinga told us that Ms Kamar is the right choice because she is a lady and very educated and that she has great experience having served in the Speaker’s Panel in the 10th Parliament and now in the Senate,” a sources who attended the meeting told the Nation.
MT KENYA REGION
Mr Kang’ata was last week campaigning for Mr Kibiru on the account that he is the best bet to assuage a region that is still feeling the heat after the removal of Prof Kindiki and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika as Majority Whip.
But Mr Odinga told the meeting that the Mt Kenya region is ably represented by Mr Kang’ata and instead rallied his troops in the House to support Ms Kamar.
“Mr Kang’ata has worked so well in the short time he has been on the saddle and this shows that Mt Kenya is ably represented in the Senate leadership,” he said, adding that the region would have qualified for another slot if the new majority Whip is not up to task.
“His vibrancy makes such an argument weak.”
The withdrawal of Mr Kibiru leaves Ms Kamar and nominated senators Isaac Mwaura and Judith Pareno in the race.
Ms Pareno is an ODM member and her party leader’s position weakens her campaign and technically halts her ambitions.
Mr Kang’ata Tuesday refused to deny or confirm Mr Odinga’s intervention and insisted that they will unveil their candidate, but hinted that there may be no polling.
“We want a united Senate that is fully behind President Uhuru Kenyatta and hence we shall prefer unity and reconciliation where everyone is a winner. We shall not profile any community as a senate.
If elected, Ms Kamar will become the third deputy Speaker since the Senate was revived in the current constitution.