Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale has criticised four Jubilee MPs who were dewhipped from House committees for going to court instead of seeking solutions through the party’s internal mechanisms.
In a statement, the Garissa Township lawmaker maintained that it is the sole mandate of a political party that sponsors an MP to Parliament to dewhip a member or not.
“Pursuant to Standing Order 173, it is the parliamentary party that sponsored a member to Parliament that has the mandate to nominate a member to a committee. Simply put, Jubilee or Nasa as the case may be, determines which member should be in which committee. It is this determination that the committee on selection relies on in selecting members to committees,” Mr Duale said.
The Majority Leader explained that party discipline among members is important, hence the reason the mandate is a prerogative of the party.
He said if any member feels aggrieved with the decision of the party, then one can seek redress from the Political Parties Tribunal established under the Political Parties Act 2011.
The tribunal also determines disputes between political parties, disputes between an independent candidate and a political party and disputes between coalition partners.
Mr Duale said the ruling party will explore all options in order to ensure regional balance and inclusiveness is observed in constitution of committees.
“Suffice it to say the Jubilee Party has several options it can explore including reconstituting its committees and this is an inherent right recognised for all parliamentary parties in the National Assembly Standing Orders,” Mr Duale said.
Jubilee, through its Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali, last week dewhipped MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben), David Bowen (Marakwet East) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North) after they defied the party’s position on the sharing of House committee slots.
Justice John Mativo on Wednesday temporarily suspended that decision after the legislators went to court.
The MPs sued Mr Washiali, Mr Duale and the Speaker of the National Assembly. They have also maintained that they will not relinquish the positions.
During the election of committee chairpersons and their deputies last week, Mr Keter was elected chairman of the Labour and Social Welfare committee, defeating Bura MP Ali Wario, who was the choice of the ruling party.
Mr Tiren was elected Agriculture committee chairman, defeating Adan Ali of Mandera East, Jubilee’s preferred candidate.
Mr Bowen defeated Jubilee’s choice of Sofia Abdi (Ijara) for the Environment and Natural Resources committee while Mr Kosgey had attempted to run against Kieni MP Kanini Kega for the leadership of the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives committee.
A section of MPs drawn from the North and South Rift last week held a meeting and resolved to stand with their colleagues. The MPs accused the Majority Leader of harassing lawmakers.
Jubilee Party secretary-general Raphael Tuju, while acknowledging that there is discontentment over the dewhipping of the four MPs, said the dispute will be resolved internally after the holidays.