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Showdown looms in Parliament over PSC nominations

Anthony Mwangi and Mercy Mwai @PeopleDailyKe

An uncanny plot is in the offing as Parliament resumes today, with a silent scheme hatched between Jubilee and Wiper parties to punish ODM in voting for members of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

Wiper plans to vote against Homa Bay Women’s Rep Gladys Wanga (ODM) to replace her with Borabu MP Ben Momanyi. Jubilee, which has no problem with its nominees for PSC, is quietly poised to vote with Wiper for Momanyi. Trouble has been brewing among Nasa affiliate parties, ODM, Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya, with the latter three arguing that the Orange party had grabbed the lion’s share of parliamentary positions.

During the Wiper Party National Executive Council (NEC) held last week, party leader Kalonzo Musyoka was asked by members to ensure ODM relinquishes one PSC position for Wiper. Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana was quoted, saying: “There has been discontent in Nasa over sharing of House leadership positions. We call for a reversal.

We have instructed the party leader Kalonzo Musyoka to get the positions shared out as earlier agreed.” In the list of all-parties nominees presented to the Speaker by Leader of Majority Aden Duale (Jubilee), Momanyi’s name was missing. Duale said Jubilee MPs will reject the name of Wanga as a PSC nominee should ODM nominate her.

He clarified that going by the Speaker’s ruling, he will ensure members will vote by division as opposed to acclamation. “We are not going to accept the name of Wanga at all. This is something as Jubilee we are going to take a position on tomorrow (today),” he said.

Kalonzo in a letter earlier written for Wiper to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had argued his party had more than five percent representation in Parliament and hence had a constitutional right for a position in the PSC. Nasa had retained the name of Wanga after earlier withdrawing that of Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi.

Memusi has also written to the Speaker maintaining that he was rightfully nominated by his party ODM and must be given a chance. During a stormy debate last December over the matter, the Wiper position was buttressed by Kangema MP Muturi Kigano after he questioned the constitutionality of the list.

He argued that the Nasa list was in violation of the Article 127(2) of the Constitution since it did not put into consideration the strength of its membership. He was cheered by Wiper Party MPs as he said Wiper commands more than five per cent House membership.

When the matter came up before Parliament last December, members of the two sides rejected the list on the basis that the same commissioners who served in the last Parliament had been retained, prompting the Speaker to postpone debate.

The legislators opposed the list immediately Duale stood to move the motion for the approval of seven MPs to the powerful commission. Jubilee has nominated Senator Beth Mugo, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, MPs Adan Keynan (Eldas) and Naomi Shaban (Taveta), while Nasa has nominated Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and Vihiga Senator George Khaniri.

However, should Wanga be dropped, a complication could arise from lack of two-thirds gender rule representation, which could force Nasa to drop another male member for a woman. Meanwhile, the House is expected to be drawn to yet another form of circus after the opposition MPs were directed to boycott debate on the nominees for nine cabinet secretary slots.

The opposition legislators vowed to boycott any session that has to do with the passage of the nominees or vetting of either ambassadors or principle secretaries. By last evening it was understood that some of the opposition MPs were debating whether to boycott or attend the session but oppose the report on the floor, citing grounds that the nominees were not properly vetted.

Opposition leadership in the National Assembly led by John Mbadi and Junet Mohammed said members have been directed to ensure they do not participate in the sessions just like they boycotted all vetting sessions.

Yesterday Duale said Jubilee Party will today hold a Parliamentary Group meeting during which MPs will take a position on those to represent them at the Parliamentary Service Commission and the approval of the government nominees.

Jubilee Party, he said, has resolved to maintain its members to the commission, who include Adan Keynan and Beth Mugo. “We have a PG tomorrow to deal with the PSC matter. As Jubilee we are going to retain our earlier nominees.”

Duale said. Duale said MPs will debate and conclude on the PSC nominees in order to ensure they take up office as required by law. He said: “Since MPs were sworn in we have never had a commission in place and this time we must conclude with it.”

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