Senate Deputy Speaker Prof. Kithure Kindiki has been ousted.
Fifty four (54) senators voted in favour of Kindiki’s removal, whereas seven voted against it. None of the senators abstained, said Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.
Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo-Marakwet), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Christopher Langat (Bomet), Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi), Mithika Linturi (Meru) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) voted against the deputy speaker’s kick-out.
The motion required at least two-thirds majority (44 members voting yes) to go through.
The Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata had on Tuesday afternoon (May 19), moved a notice of Motion for the removal of Prof. Kindiki.
Irungu Kang’ata had indicated that on Tuesday he was going to initiate the process of Kindiki’s removal for failing to attend a Jubilee Coalition Parliamentary Group meeting where Ruto’s surrogates were shown the door last week.
“I beg to move that this House Senate resolves that Senator Kithure Kindiki be removed from the Office of the Deputy Speaker,” read the notice by Kang’ata, the Murang’a senator who has emerged as the driver of the President’s agenda warhorse in the House.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka set Friday, May 22 as the date to discuss the ouster motion against Kindiki.
Kang’ata told journalists on Thursday (May 23) that 48 Senators, including the membership of the Minority Coalition (NASA) had endorsed the motion, exuding confidence that the threshold for removal would be attained.
“We have the requisite numbers and members of the party have been instructed accordingly,” said Kang’ata when he spoke to the press at Parliament buildings.
He revealed that 26 Senators drawn from the Jubilee Party and 22 drawn from the National Super Alliance Coalition (NASA) had endorsed the ouster motion.
Kang’ata did not table any other grounds for the removal of the Tharaka Nithi Senator from the position of Deputy Speaker.
Change of loyalty
With the removal of Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchuma Murkomen as Majority Leader and Nakuru’s Susan Kihika as Majority Whip last week, Kindiki remained Ruto’s sole key ally in Senate leadership.
The move followed the careful change of loyalty to the President’s side by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, who was accused of throwing Murkomen and Kihika under the bus.
Observers and leaders who spoke to K24 Digital on Monday, May 18 said Kindiki thrust himself in the eye of the political storm by continuing to associate himself with Ruto’s allies who have been accused of defying Uhuru’s directives.
Igembe North MP Maoka Maore, an ardent Uhuru ally, said the senator’s continued stance in favour of the DP as shown by his actions and the people he is associated with had placed him on a collision path with the President.
“Kindiki holds a very sensitive position and from how he has been behaving, including his decisions while presiding the House sessions, shows that he is 100 per cent Tanga Tanga. If Uhuru was looking for allies to work with, I doubt Kindiki would be one of them,” Maoka said.
The MP cited Kindiki’s recent ruling against Uhuru’s move to take over key operations of Nairobi County through the Nairobi Metropolitan Service as a move that could have angered the President.
Kindiki, following a motion by Murkomen, ordered an investigation into the President’s conduct in the take-over process, and gave the matter to the Devolution and Justice and Legal Affairs committees which, are chaired by Senators Joseph Kinyua (Laikipia) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi), both Ruto surrogates.
But Lusaka later suspended the probe whose outcome, it was feared, may have compromised the President’s decision.
Reward for efforts
In the run up to the 2013 elections, Kindiki led a team of lawyers who drafted the Jubilee coalition constitution which brought together Uhuru’s TNA and Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP).
In what was seen as a reward for his efforts, the lawyer was elected the Leader of Majority at the Senate against veterans such as the current Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi (then Meru Senator) and Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (former Nyeri Senator) who were forced to step down.
The position placed Kindiki at a top post in the rank and file of the ruling coalition, side-stepping the seniors and boosted his political influence in Mount Kenya region that during the last term, he was touted among the choice of Ruto’s running mate under the 2013 pact between TNA and URP.
He was a member of the flamboyant “Sky Team” which comprised Murkomen, who was then his deputy, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and Moses Kuria, which crisscrossed the country in choppers to campaign for Jubilee and market Ruto as Uhuru’s successor.
East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Mpuru Apuri, an ally of the President, on Monday, May 18, said while Uhuru was right in the cleanup, Kindiki should be given a second chance but maintained the President must be respected as the Head of State and the Mount Kenya kingpin.
“Uhuru must be respected… like it happens with other communities. Raila is the Luo leader, Ruto for Kalenjin and we will not allow ours to be disrespected,” Apuri said.
Maore, however, said they would require a “post-Kindiki ouster arrangement” between the party and the populous Meru region to appease them.