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How Ruto saved Duale from axe

Tuesday June 02 2020
duale

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale speaks at Parliament on June 2, 2020. He has survived the purge in the Jubilee party, but only for the time being, some lawmakers say. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IBRAHIM ORUKO

At the end of it all, it took the internal politics of Garissa County, deep family connections and a last-ditch effort by Deputy President William Ruto to save Mr Aden Duale from the ignominy of being kicked out as the majority leader on the day the purge in the ruling Jubilee Party finally reached the National Assembly.Sources say the power matrix in Garissa is what saved the voluble politician, cemented by his conduct in the recent past, and an early morning meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Duale, Dr Ruto and Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju.Even as the Garissa Township MP appears to have registered significant victory, sources say it could be temporary.Another meeting is expected in three weeks, where Mr Duale’s fate will be decided.“I was in the meeting and didn’t hear the mention of his name, because he had been removed,” Tiaty MP William Kamket said, his position opposing the dispatch issued by State House.SHOWN THE DOORWhile Mr Duale sighed, his two colleagues were not lucky.Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and his deputy Cecily Mbarire were shown the door during the parliamentary group meeting at State House, which was attended by Dr Ruto and 212 MPs, according to a dispatch from the President’s press team.Mr Washiali was replaced by Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe while Igembe North MP Maoka Maore took over from Ms Mbarire.The presence of Dr Ruto and his allies was surprising as they have borne the brunt of the purgeBut more surprising was Mr Kenyatta decision to create the position of secretary of the Jubilee coalition joint parliamentary secretary, which will be occupied by Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya.The dispatch did not provide the job description of the holder of the position and its relevance in the party’s parliamentary leadership hierarchy.Some lawmakers, who did not want to be named, said the position is meant to check and infuse some energy into the office of the majority leader.Another source said the President held a meeting with Mr Duale, the DP and Mr Tuju where Dr Ruto pleaded for the majority leader’s case.POWER BROKERSBut it is the role of Garissa County politics that was more intriguing.The Nation learnt that power brokers in the Abduwak and Abdullah clans lobbied for the retention of Mr Duale as majority leader.“The two clans have controlled Garissa politics for four decades and would not want to lose power,” a source said.Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji comes from the Abdulla clan and is known to be close to the President.Power brokers from the two clans are said to have approached Mr Haji and asked for his intervention.The two clans, known locally as the Telemuge, control Garissa politics and its economy.The influence of the clans is such that the who’s who in the county hails from one or the other.Former Chief of General Staff Muhamud Mohammed, who is Mr Duale’s father-in-law, and Mr Hussein Maalim, a former long-time minister in the Office of the President, come from the two clans.Since becoming National Assembly majority leader, Mr Duale has styled himself as a defender of the rights of the Somali people and Muslims.If the clan lobbying was a success, it must have come with a compromise.TANGATANGA TEAMThere is a possibility that Mr Duale will adopt a neutral tone or gravitate towards the President or even start denouncing the DP and his Tangatanga team, some lawmakers said.Late yesterday, Mr Duale held a press briefing, discounting reports that he had survived the purge in the ruling party.“I did not survive. My work stood out. I have served the country diligently and with dedication as the first holder of this office,” he said at Parliament.“These positions come and go. The office of majority leader was not carved out for me. I should be judged when my term ends.”State House Deputy Chief of Staff Njee Muturi was seen with another group of 40 MPs in Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata’s office yesterday.Mr Kang’ata said some lawmakers, whom he did not name, went to consult him on what to do “but I declined because I did not want to meddle in the affairs of the National Assembly”.“I told them I cannot assist unless with express permission from the President,” he saidThe early afternoon meeting brought together MPs who were not satisfied with Mr Duale’s remaining the majority leader.

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