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Battle for Speaker positions intensifies ahead of Parliament first sitting

The race for the Speakers and Deputy Speakers intensified with more applicants showing interest ahead of Tuesday’s deadline for submissions.

By close of business Monday, at least 21 individuals had collected application forms for the seat of the National Assembly Speaker and a host others picking for the Senate Speaker.

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Five Turkana MP-elect pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta to retain Speaker Ekwe Ethuro for a second term.

MPs-elect Lodepe Nakara (Turkana Central), Jeremiah Lomurukai (Loima), Mohamed Lokiru (Turkana East), Daniel Epuyo (Turkana West) and Joyce Emanikor (Woman Rep) said it would be unfair for Jubilee Party to retain the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi but replace the Senate boss.

Ms Emanikor, who was elected on Jubilee ticket, said President Uhuru has powers to prevail upon the outfit’s senators, who are the majority, to vote in favour of Mr Ethuro.

“We are sending an appeal to President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto to consider retaining Ethuro as the Senate Speaker. This is the only senior most position we have held as a community and it would not be right if it is taken away,” she said.

Mr Lodepe Nakara (ODM) said they will talk to both Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders to consider the outgoing speaker for a second term.

He said Turkana County voted for both Jubilee and NASA and it would only be fair if they both supported a candidate from the area for the seat.

Interested individuals for the four slots have upto 9am this morning to submit their applications before their qualifications can be ascertained and names published ahead of the Thursday sitting.

Speaker Muturi and Kuresoi North MP-elect Moses Cheboi on Monday returned their forms accompanied by names and signatures of 83 and 80 MPs-elect in support of their respective bid.

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The applicants are required to return the forms, documents supporting their qualifications and at least 20 names and signatures supporting them for the seats.

This requirement has, however, since unsettled some applicants who feel that it will lock them out.

A youthful candidate Jarend Oundo Monday said the requirement was likely to lock out new faces from contesting for the seats.

“I am intending to go to court because I feel that the rights of many youths have been infringed due to the logistical requirements and the limited time for application,” said Mr Oundu at the Parliament Buildings on Monday.

At the same time, former Lagdera MP Farah Maalim, who served as the Deputy Speaker of the 10th parliament is among the latest entrants in the race for Senate Speaker.

Maalim who lost to Aden Duale in Garissa Township Constituency picked his papers on Sunday evening, making him the 12th alongside a Mr George Bush Ochieng who has also picked the nomination documents.

The ex-MP will now face some of his former colleagues who include incumbent Ekwe Ethuro, James Gesami (West Mugirango), Chris Obure (former Kisii Senator) and Wilfred Machage (former Migori Senator).

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Former Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Chairman Charles Nyachae who lost in the Kisii Senate seat, , Mangera Allan, Paul Ribathi, city lawyer Manana Rodgers, Claudius Nyamwange Oigara and Otieno Atudo, Teimuge Kevin, Olingo Timothy Ayieko, Okello Patrick, Yegon Vincent and Maina Sammy Mathai.

In the National Assembly, incumbent Justin Muturi’s challengers include former MPs Moses Sakuda (Kajaido west) and Dr James Gesami. Others eying the seat include Dr. Migudo N. Winja, Stephen Mwingirwa, Machana Ontiri, Jim Bonface Kigo, John Peter Mdhune, Moses Mugo Njoroge and Solomon Gatobu.

Sources in Jubilee which enjoys majority in both houses said that Muturi and Lusaka maybe be the favourites while Nakuru Senator-elect Susan Kihika is earmarked for deputy speaker Senate. Ms Kihika who served as Nakuru County Assembly Speaker faces opposition from Nairobi’s Johnson Sakaja and Kiambu’s Kimani Wamatangi and Muranga Senator-elect Irungu Kangati.

In the deal by Jubilee that will see Ms Kihika elected in Senate as Deputy Speaker, Kuresoi North MP-elect Moses Cheboi is set to replace Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso who held the seat in the 11th parliament. Other than Cheboi, others eying the position include MPs-elect Martha Wangari (Gilgil) and Naisula Lesuda (Samburu West).

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