Duale faces revolt from Rift MPs over House slots

Thursday December 21 2017

Aden Duale

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale speaks during the Pastoralists Parliamentary Group meeting at Nyali Sun Africa Beach Resort in Mombasa on December 16, 2017. He is accused of high-handedness and harassing elected representatives. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAMWEL OWINO
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National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale is facing rebellion from Jubilee Party MPs from the Rift Valley who are disgruntled over the sharing of committee leadership positions.

The lawmakers are also angry about the removal of four of them after they defied the party's stand in Wednesday’s elections.

Mr Duale’s alleged high-handedness and harassment of the elected representatives was one of the agenda items of a meeting of the group from the South and North Rift at Parliament Thursday morning.

Some of the MPs are understood to be considering resigning from their committees en masse in January if their four colleagues are not reinstated to their teams.

LOST POSITIONS
The meeting is said to have been convened by Cherengany MP Joshua Kutuny, a day after four MPs were removed from their committees by Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali.

A total of 37 lawmakers attended the meeting, among them Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen.

The Nation learnt that the lawmakers told their four colleagues not to relinquish their positions.

MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Kangogo Bowen were elected to leadership positions despite letters from the majority whip removing them from their teams.

Emgwen MP Alex Kosgey was also removed from a committee. He had vied for a leadership position but lost.

IMPEACHMENT
Mr Keter was elected chairman of the Labour and Social Welfare Committee, defeating Bura MP Ali Wario, who was the choice of the party’s leadership.

Mr Tiren was elected Agriculture Committee chairman, trouncing Mandera East’s Adan Ali, who was Jubilee’s preferred candidate.

Mr Bowen defeated Jubilee’s choice — Ms Sofia Abdi (Ijara) — for the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Mr Kutuny confirmed that the meeting indeed took place and MPs were not happy with the way Mr Duale handled them.

“We were trying to put things in order after our members were dewhipped from the committees. The act was unfortunate and MPs have resolved a number of issues, including an impeachment motion against Mr Duale,” Mr Kutuny told the Nation.

“Members raised a lot of issues, including the conduct of Mr Duale. They said if he does not change, they will impeach him,” Mr Kutuny added.

COMMITTEES
The MPs urged Mr Murkomen to urgently arrange a meeting between them and Deputy President William Ruto over the crisis in the National Assembly.

The lawmakers said they were also worried over the membership of the Administration and National Security Committee, as well as the Public Investment Committee, which they described as crucial.

“The MPs said the two committees have a majority of MPs from the former Central Province and northern Kenya yet issues of security also largely affect our areas,” Mr Kutuny said.

From the Rift, only Nandi Woman Rep Tecla Chebet Tum is in the Administration and National Security Committee.

WINNERS
In the Labour Committee, Mr Keter benefited from the support of unionist MPs, who also got backing to get one of their own, Bungoma Woman Rep Catherine Wambilianga, elected vice-chairman.

The union officials in the committee include Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary-general Wilson Sossion (ODM), Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers chairman Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya, ANC), Kuppet’s Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central, Jubilee) and Union of Kenya Civil Servants secretary-general Tom Odege (Nyatike MP).

Ms Wambilianga is the Kuppet national secretary in charge of gender while Mr Tunoi is Kuppet’s Bomet branch chairman.