As if reading from the Jubilee script, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) Thursday asserted its authority in the National Assembly by kicking out errant members and suspending others from committees.
The intention by Nasa to support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s faction in the Jubilee Party and push for reforms was made clear during its Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting held at the Parliament buildings.
Leader of Minority in the National Assembly John Mbadi did not hide the fact that Nasa’s main intention was to get the naysayers out of the way ahead of the release of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report expected early next month.
The meeting had the coalition’s best attendance, with 108 of the 135 Nasa MPs drawn from ODM, Wiper, Amani National Congress and Ford-Kenya attending and passing a unanimous resolution to weed out their disloyal colleagues.
Those who missed included 16 who sent their apologies, and the rest being those earmarked for removal.
A majority of the de-whipped MPs met their waterloo for supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid against the positions taken by their respective parties.
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa (ODM) was the biggest casualty after she was recalled from the highly influential Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) as her Likoni colleague Mishi Mboko (ODM) replaced her.
Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu (Ford-K) was picked to replace his Kiminini colleague Chris Wamalwa (Ford-K) as the Deputy Minority Whip. Nine other MPs were de-whipped from their respective House committees.
The changes will take place immediately the House reconvenes on June 2 after a month-long recess that was largely dedicated to budget hearings. It only requires Minority Whip Junet Mohamed to formally notify Speaker Justin Muturi on Tuesday next week of the changes.
However, the removal of Ms Jumwa will take time as it’s not an immediate exercise. The affected MPs will be kept in the cold for six months pending a disciplinary committee hearing. Other than being removed from the PSC, Ms Jumwa was also kicked out of the Members Service Facility Committee.
Mr Mbadi said that the changes were made with a focus on constitutional reforms as well as the adoption of the Budget due to be read during the second week of June.
“We want the loyal members to work closely with the leadership of the House to ensure that reforms are achieved,” Mr Mbadi said.
Mr Mohamed added: “Parliament is a house of political parties and coalitions. Party discipline is therefore critical to the proper conduct of parliamentary business”.
Mr Mohamed revealed that the coalition had conducted an appraisal on the performance of the MPs in committees for the last two years and yesterday’s meeting explored ways of improving performance when the House resumes sittings.
The de-whipping of the Nasa MPs comes after Jubilee subjected its five nominated Senators to a disciplinary committee for skipping a PG meeting convened at State House by President Kenyatta. They will know their fate on Tuesday during another PG meeting to be chaired by the President.
An MP is paid Sh5,000 to attend committee sittings and another Sh5,000 for plenary sessions.
Further, committees afford members an opportunity to travel while pocketing allowances, and an opportunity to peddle influence.
A PSC member also enjoys an enhanced medical cover on top of the privilege of traveling to any part of the world at the expense of the taxpayer.
Additional reporting by Sammy Lutta.