Jubilee rebels face date with destiny - Daily Nation
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House committees to discuss, remove rebellious chairmen

Sunday January 21 2018

Silas Tiren, James Gakuya and Alfred Keter.

Moiben MP Silas Tiren, Embakasi North MP James Gakuya and Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter at the Milimani Law Courts on December 27, 2017 where they had gone to petition the court to quash decision to dewhip them from house committees. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DAVID MWERE
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The four National Assembly committees whose leaders are facing removal have been asked to meet on Tuesday to discuss their no-confidence motions and possibly eject the rebellious Jubilee Party MPs.

With a court order blocking the Jubilee Party leaders from removing the four MPs from the committees, the ruling party has gone for the sure-fire option of having its members express a lack of confidence in them.

 “When they took me to court and the court stopped us pending its decision, we said well and good. The court has spoken. When we spoke to members and they understood the masterplan of the party, which they will also benefit from, they understood,” said Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali.

The court cannot have a say on whether members of a committee have confidence in their elected chairmen or not.

“That is now the democracy Keter is talking about. Let the members who elected him democratically also reject him democratically, and it is provided for in the Standing Orders,” said Mr Washiali.

That appears to have sealed the fates of Mr Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Mr Silas Tiren (Moiben), Mr Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) and Mr James Gakuya (Embakasi North), who went against the party’s decision and worked their way to leadership seats.

REMOVED

Mr Keter is chairman of the Labour and Social Welfare Committee, Mr Tiren chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Mr Gakuya the Broadcasting and Library Committee and Mr Bowen vice chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Also set to be removed along with Mr Keter is Bungoma Woman Representative Catherine Wambylianga, who was elected vice chairman of the Labour committee after Mr Keter struck a deal with unionists in the committee.

Mr Washiali said the sharing of positions was part of a larger plan and suggested that the full Cabinet would eventually have individuals from strongholds of the National Super Alliance.

He said Jubilee is avoiding the situation Nasa has found itself in with MPs from the Coast region complaining that they were left out in the sharing of leadership positions in Parliament.

In letters to members of the committees, National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai has asked them to meet in various locations in Parliament at 10 am Tuesday, the main agenda being to deliberate on the motions of no-confidence.

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee will meet at County Hall, the Agriculture Committee in Room Nine, Broadcasting Committee at Continental House and Labour and Social Welfare at Room Seven.

EJECT LEADERS

If members of the committees manage to eject the leaders, the Director of Committees will convene another meeting in seven days for the election of new leaders.

 “We must be able to share whatever we have in this country otherwise I think there is no business in us being leaders,” said Mr Washiali.

Mr Keter has become the face of the rebellious MPs.

The youthful MP has grown in confidence after his re-election despite the fact that he had been a rebel within Jubilee for the better part of the last term.

He has said that those keen to remove him are working at the behest of cartels that don’t want him to oversee well-funded institutions like the National Social Security Fund.

“The country is facing many problems that the President should focus on. We respect him as our party leader but he should not meddle into affairs of parliamentary committees,” Mr Keter added.

He accused majority leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale and Mr Washiali of misleading the President on parliamentary affairs due to their selfish interest.

CARTELS

“The two are just part of the cartels that are against my leadership. They know I will do the right things and therefore feel uncomfortable,” Mr Keter said.

Mr Tiren said that he is being targeted because he wants to stop illegal dealings in the Agriculture sector.

Among the issues he listed as key areas of probe include the recent importation of brown sugar after the subsidy had been closed, the end of the maize subsidy programme and the smuggling of cheap powdered milk and rice in the country.

“Generally the farmers in the country are suffering because of the cartels who have taken over the markets. For instance, farmers in North Rift are waiting for their dues amounting to about Sh1.6 billion. If they are removing me because I mean well for the farmers, then so be it,” Mr Tiren said.

He also noted that cartels are fighting him because of the stand he has taken against the excess importation of white maize at a time the farmers have just harvested their produce but can’t sell because of poor prices.

Off the record, some of the four MPs have expressed their readiness to resign if their party succeeds in removing them. But that is  unlikely as the MPs are aware that having angered their party bosses, the party would be highly motivated to campaign against them in a by-election.