Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, who was re-elected in the August 8 elections, has joined the race for Senate Deputy Speaker's seat as lobbying for leadership positions in Parliament intensified.
Mr Wamatangi now joins his Murang’a counterpart Irungu Kang’ata and Nakuru Senator-elect Susan Kihika as the possible replacements of Mr Kembi Gitura who lost in the just-concluded elections.
Senator Wamatangi’s announcement followed a meeting of the newly-elected leaders from Mount Kenya on Wednesday night in a Nairobi hotel.
One of those at the meeting said the leaders present agreed to front Mr Wamatangi as the candidate for Deputy Speaker or even the majority whip, arguing that he has been vocal in defending the Jubilee position on various matters in the House and outside.
ONLY ONE RE-ELECTED
The leaders’ position according to the MP, was that Mr Wamatangi was the only senator from central Kenya who was re-elected besides Tharaka-Nithi’s Kithure Kindiki in the larger Mount Kenya region.
“Senator Wamatangi appeared to be [a] strong candidate among senators from central Kenya and therefore we will front his name in the Jubilee parliamentary group meeting scheduled for next week,” said a source who attended the meeting.
Senator Wamatangi confirmed to Nation that he has expressed interest in the seat but said he was unaware of the meeting by central Kenya leaders that endorsed him.
“It is true that I am going for the Deputy Speakers’ position because I am qualified for it,” Mr Wamatangi told Nation.
However, the senator remained tight-lipped on the details of the night meeting held by central Kenya leaders on Wednesday night.
“I am not aware of the meeting you are talking about and even if I was aware I cannot divulge any details because I am not the spokesperson of the caucus,” Mr Wamatangi said.
The senator also did not rule out going for the position of majority whip in the Senate which has also attracted Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
“Depending on the agreement of Jubilee affiliate parties, I will either get the Deputy Speakers’ position or the chief whip,” Mr Wamatangi said.
“I got the second highest number of votes in last elections. I sponsored many Bills in the 11th parliament and I have been active on the floor of the House. What else do I need to be the Deputy Speaker?” asked Wamatangi.
Mr Wamatangi also dismissed assertions that Jubilee has decided to edge out Speaker Ekwee Ethuro saying he is still a strong candidate that should not be ignored.
“Let nobody lie to you that Mr Ethuro is out of the picture. He remains a strong candidate owing to various political cards in play,” Mr Wamatangi said.
Jubilee elected MPs are scheduled to have their parliamentary group meeting next week to decide on the House leadership positions.