The Senate has Thursday afternoon gone into the second round of voting for Speaker after none of the six candidates garnered the mandatory two-thirds of the total vote, which is 45 out of 67 votes required to be declared winner.
Former Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka garnered 40 votes, followed by Farah Maalim with 23 votes.
Earlier, Mr Lusaka survived a rocky start to his bid to be elected Senate Speaker after opposition legislators questioned his eligibility to run for the office on integrity grounds.
Led by Siaya Senator James Orengo, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) senators said that Mr Lusaka’s conduct had been questioned in a petition to the Senate.
They argued that though he had not been proven guilty, he could not contest for the seat unless he was cleared under Chapter Six of the Kenyan Constitution.
But Senate clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye ruled that the allegations against Mr Lusaka had not been proven, and that the petition had not been adopted by the House so as to be considered as an indictment on him.
Mr Nyegenye ruled that the electoral commission, IEBC, “which has the wherewithal and infrastructure” to determine eligibilities of candidates seeking political office gave Mr Lusaka a clean bill of health.
He then ordered senators to go on with the election of a speaker.
Mr Lusaka, who lost his Bungoma governor’s seat to his Ford Kenya rival Wycliffe Wangamati, had in the morning expressed confidence that he had the numbers to be elected the second Senate Speaker.
He attributed this to what he said was rigorous lobbying for the support of the members of the Jubilee Party.
“I have the numbers. I am sure of a simple majority when it comes to the second round of voting,” Mr Lusaka said in an interview with KTN.
The former county chief was on Wednesday endorsed for the position in a Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.
With 27 senators- 24 Jubilee Party, 2 from Kanu, and 1 from the People’s Democratic Party- Jubilee has the clearest majority of elected leaders in the Senate, making it easy for his ascension to the seat.
Should he be elected, Mr Lusaka will replace Mr Ekwee Ethuro whose fate has not been immediately established.
In 2013, the Jubilee Coalition had a lead over Cord with 23 Senators compared to Cord’s 19.
TNA and ODM each have 11 senators, while URP has nine, Wiper four and APK two.
Kanu and UDF have two senators each while FPK and Narc has one each.
“I will seek to ensure that the relationship between the Senate and the county governments is improved. We want to put the issues we have behind us,” said Mr Lusaka.
Mr Lusaka also dismissed claims that his being elected Speaker of the Senate will derail his relationship with Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, who was the last Parliament’s Leader of Minority and who is expected to retain his position.
“It is not going to affect anything,” Mr Lusaka said of the relationship.
“When I become Speaker, I will be the Speaker of everyone.”