Parliamentary leadership changes: ‘It’s all over, now work’, Ruto tells allies

By Brian Okoth On Thu, 16 Jul, 2020 13:59 | 4 mins read
Deputy President William Ruto addresses church leaders he hosted at his Sugoi home in Uasin-Gishu County on Saturday, July 4, 2020. [PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL]
Deputy President William Ruto addresses church leaders he hosted at his Sugoi home in Uasin-Gishu County on Saturday, July 4, 2020. [PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL]
Editor's Review
    Seven committees are scheduled to hold elections Thursday, July 16.

Deputy President William Ruto has urged MPs and senators allied to him — who were affected following Jubilee Party’s decision to realign its leadership in both Houses of Parliament — to concentrate on their oversight, legislative and representation roles.

The DP, who made his remarks on Twitter on Thursday, July 16 asked leaders affiliated to him to forge unity with those perceived to be allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta within the Jubilee wing so that they can “serve the people”.

“With the changes in Parliamentary leadership, including committee membership and leadership now concluded, I urge all MPs not to be divided but work together in serving the people.  Colossians 3:23 [says] ‘whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not human masters’,” tweeted Ruto at 12:30pm.

The DP’s remarks come a day after the National Assembly Committee compositions were communicated, with the changes showing most of his allies — who previously held powerful positions in lucrative committees — pushed to peripheral memberships.

The MPs are on Thursday, July 16 scheduled to start electing chairpersons of various House departmental committees following the de-whipping of DP William Ruto allies.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed that the elections be completed by Friday, July 17 ahead of the fumigation of the chambers by Ministry of Health officials on Saturday, July 18.

Seven committees are scheduled to hold elections Thursday, July 16, according to the timetable released Wednesday by the Office of the Director of Committee Services.

The seven committees are Agriculture and Livestock, Education, Justice and Legal Affairs, Labour and Social Welfare, Trade and Industry, Parliamentary Broadcasting and Library and the Delegated Legislations.

One of the key National Assembly departmental committees that saw a Ruto ally — Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah — kicked out of as its chairperson, is the powerful Budget and Appropriation committee. Ichung’wah has since been moved to the Members Service and Facilities committee as a member.

Apart from Ichung’wah, other Ruto allies listed in the Member Service and Facilities Committee, which is chaired by Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu, include: Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, Kesses legislator Swarup Mishra, Tharaka-Nithi Woman Representative Beatrice Nyaga, and Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir.

The 15-member committee also includes: Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto, Tana River Woman Representative Rehema Hassan, Njoro MP Charity Kathambi Chepkwony, Elisha Odhiambo of Gem, Kibra’s Bernard Okoth, Nzambia Kithua of Kilome, Khwisero’s Christopher Aseka, John Walter Owino of Awendo and Kakamega Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda.

New House Committee leaderships

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga is touted to be the chairperson of the Finance and Planning committee.

Busia Woman Rep, Florence Mutua, is poised to take up the helm of the Education committee, with Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu as her deputy.

The Justice and Legal Affairs committee would, most likely be run by  Kangema MP Muturi Kigano as its chair, while Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo will take the vice-chairman post.

Homa Bay Town MP Peter Opondo Kaluma is likely to be the next vice-chairperson of the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee.

KANU MP William Kamket is touted to take over as chairperson of the Delegated Legislations committee, with Mbeere North MP Muriuki Njagagua as deputy.

Limuru MP Peter Mwathi is seeking to be the next chairperson of Labour committee. He will be deputised by Chepalungu MP Gideon Kimutai Koske.

Wipers Party’s Patrick Makau is set to be the next Sports and Culture committee chairperson.

‘Persecuted because of me’

Deputy President William Ruto’s word of encouragement to his de-whipped foot soldiers comes nearly two weeks after he claimed that the MPs and senators allied to him were being persecuted for their close links with him.

On July 4, the DP said Kipchumba Murkomen, Susan Kihika, Kithure Kindiki, among other Jubilee leaders, lost their lucrative positions in Parliament because they had openly thrown their support behind him as the State sought to cut him (Ruto) down to size.

Speaking at his Sugoi home in Uasin-Gishu County, where he hosted church leaders on Saturday, July 4, the DP said “prayers are needed to restore political normalcy in Kenya”.

“Initially, we were only talking about ethnic division in Kenya. Today, a new form of rift has emerged — political division. In the recent past, we have seen several elected and nominated leaders being ousted from positions in Parliament, and are also being fought on several fronts simply because they are affiliated to Deputy President William Ruto,” said the DP.

“I urge you to pray for these people who are intolerant of others’ opinions to be accommodating. Those affected, should know that despite the challenges they are facing, we still need to live harmoniously as citizens of one nation. When we are patient, and believe in God, then He will allow us to engage in politics that is free of division and tribalism,” added Ruto.

“In the Kenya of today, several politicians [linked to me] are being threatened that they would be taken to court for alleged graft-related offences, face tax evasion litigation, or they’ll be investigated by the EACC, and consequently arraigned. Others are warned that they will lose their positions in parliamentary committees and other postings. They are subjected to all that simply because they are affiliated to the Deputy President, and not because they are involved in any wrongdoing. I am also an innocent Kenyan, [who shouldn’t be subjected to such aggressive fighting].”

“Let me urge you to pray against the devil that wants to spark political division in Kenya. May God keep us united so that we live as one nation not torn apart by political division.”

The DP’s remarks came after he was criticised for keeping silent as his foot soldiers in both Houses of Parliament were being cut down to size by President Uhuru Kenyatta-led ‘Kieleweke’ team.

So far, the DP’s lieutenants in the Senate and the National Assembly have been ousted from their lucrative posts.

The ousted leaders include: Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (former Majority Leader in the Senate), his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika (former Majority Chief Whip in the Senate), Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki (Deputy Speaker of the Senate), Garissa Township MP Aden Duale (former Majority Leader in the National Assembly), Mumias East lawmaker Benjamin Washiali (ex-Majority Whip in the National Assembly), nominated MP Cecily Mbarire (former Deputy Majority Whip in the National Assembly), among others.

Sixteen (16) DP-affiliated senators and MPs also lost their positions in various House committees.   

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