Deputy President William Ruto's allies have termed the changes to the Senate leadership team as null and void, kicking off a fresh storm over the line-up endorsed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mr Kenyatta chaired a meeting at State House which endorsed West Pokot Senator Samwel Poghisio as the new Senate Majority Leader, replacing Elgeyo Marakwet’s Kipchumba Murkomen.
The changes also saw the ouster of Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika as the Majority whip, to be replaced by Murang’a’s Irungu Kang’ata.
Isiolo senator Fatuma Dulo will remain deputy majority leader, while nominated senator Farhiya Ali replaces Mr Kang’ata.
But in a letter to Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Ms Kihika protested the changes, saying the Senators at State House were less than the half of all Jubilee members required, and that no vote was taken to confirm the changes.
“The requirements that make it mandatory for more than half of the senators to remove a Majority Leader or Minority Leader was not met . . . No vote was carried out as required by the Standing order 19 to remove the Majority Leader and the Majority whip,” Ms Kihika said in the letter.
She added: “As Jubilee senators, we did not receive any formal invitation for any meeting with an agenda to discuss the removal of the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Majority whip.”
Ms Kihika said that the decision was not sanctioned by the National Executive Committee as required by the Jubilee Party Constitution.
“We therefore hold that the leadership of the Majority party in the Senate remains as it has been until all the requirements of the Constitution of Kenya, the Standing Orders and the Jubilee Party Constitution and the law are adhered to,” Ms Kihika said.
All official communication on such a change, she added, can only be communicated by herself or Mr Murkomen, the Majority Leader.
NOT AT THE MEETING
In the letter, Ms Kihika said that 22 senators of the ruling party’s 38—including three from Kanu—did not attend the meeting.
At least 20, more than half of the senators, have to vote to remove the Majority Leader and the whip.
Those who did not attend the meeting, according to Ms Kihika, are: Kipchumba Murkomen, Susan Kihika, Kericho’s Aaron Cheruiyot, Nandi’s Samson Cherargei, Christopher Langat (Bomet), TransNzoia’s Michael Mbito, Mahamud Mohamed (Mandera), Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), Anwar Loitiptip (Lamu), Juma Wario (Tana River), Mithika Linturi (Meru), John Kinyua (Laikipia), Philip Mpaayei (Kajiado), and Thara Nithi’s Kithure Kindiki.
Others who did not attend the meeting according to Ms Kihika were nominated senators Millicent Omanga, Alice Milgo, Mary Seneta, Naomi Waqo, Stephen Lelegwe, Iman Faldaha, Christine Zawadi, and Victor Prengei.