Election 2017: Battle for top positions in Senate, National Assembly begin

Lobbying has started for key leadership slots in both the Senate and the National Assembly.

Some MPs-elect are lobbying for at least eight strategic House positions ahead of the official opening of the 12th Parliament next week.


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In Jubilee – the majority party in both Houses – MPs are battling for the post of speaker, deputy speaker, majority leader, and majority whip.

And in the National Super Alliance (NASA), the legislators are lobbying for the positions of minority leader and minority whip as well as the leadership of the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Public Investments Committee (PIC).

Indications are that National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is set to retain his position as the feeling within the ruling coalition is that there is no desire to fix it if it is not broken.

Other House leaders in the ruling party could secure their positions except Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro, whose seat has attracted at least three other candidates.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart, Kindiki Kithure, are among those tipped to retain their seats with competition focused on the positions left vacant.

Other seats up for grabs for Jubilee in the Senate are the Deputy Speaker slot left vacant by outgoing Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura and two Majority Chief Whip positions that were held by nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi and outgoing Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko.

Ms Elachi lost her bid for the Dagoretti North seat while Mr Sonko won the Nairobi governor’s seat.

In the National Assembly, Jubilee MPs are angling for the Deputy Speaker slot left vacant by Joyce Laboso, who  won the Bomet governor seat.


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Lobbying is in top gear to have Mr Ethuro replaced by Nakuru Senator-elect Susan Kihika or outgoing Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkong’a.

Speaker’s seat

Former Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) chairman Charles Nyachae is also angling for the Senate Speaker’s seat.

Pressure to push Mr Ethuro out is linked to his perceived non-commitment in campaigning for President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Jubilee Party in the polls.

But Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Wiper) said the Opposition will push to retain Mr Ethuro as Speaker.

Senators Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi) and Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) are seeking to retain their positions of Majority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader respectively, while Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja is positioning himself for Senate Deputy Speaker.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria expressed similar sentiments.  He is angling for one of the crucial House positions, which he did not, however, disclose.


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“Speaker Muturi is a front runner because we will only change as much as there is a vacancy and retain as much as possible,” said Mr Kuria.

“I did a lot of constituency work in my first term and would be looking for a leadership role in the 12th Parliament,” he added.

In the NASA camp, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) of Raila Odinga has more seats than its affiliates Wiper, Ford Kenya, and Amani National Congress (ANC) and would be seeking to hold most of the seats.

Sources within the coalition indicated that Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula was likely to be retained as Senate minority leader while his Siaya counterpart, James Orengo, will either deputise him or be considered for Senate minority chief whip, which was held by outgoing Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama.

The position of Minority Leader in the National Assembly will go to ODM, with Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi and Suba MP John Mbadi being proposed to take up the slot.

Mr Mbadi is also being fronted to take up the leadership of PAC, which was held by outgoing Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.

The position of Deputy Minority Leader, which was held by outgoing Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, is set to go to Wiper. The party has yet to settle on a name.

“Wiper is second to ODM in numbers so we will negotiate for the seats as a coalition. I also know that Nyenze will not retain the minority leader as ODM will take the seat,” said Senator Mutula Jnr.

Minority Chief Whip, which was held by outgoing Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu, will also go to ODM while Minority Deputy Chief Whip will be retained by Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa of Ford Kenya.


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