NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Jubilee’s Ekwe Ethuro has been elected as the Speaker of the Senate after beating his rival Farah Maalim of CORD by nine votes.
Ethuro garnered 38 votes against Maalim’s 29 during a second round of voting after members failed to get a clear winner in the first round.
The Clerk of the Senate Jeremiah Nyegenye ordered a second round when Ethuro got 35 votes against Maalim’s 31.
The law requires a candidate to garner a two-thirds majority to be declared winner in the first ballot.
“Maalim Farah 29, Ethuro David Ekwe 38. Honourable Senators, pursuant to Standing Orders 7 paragraph 4 I now declare Ethuro David Ekwe to be duly elected as the Speaker of the Senate,” he declared.
A simple majority suffices in the second round pitting the first and second candidate who get the highest votes in the first election.
Ethuro was then sworn in and vowed to strictly adhere to the law while discharging his duties as Speaker.
“I David Ekwe Ethuro having been elected as the Senate Speaker swear in the name of God to be faithful to the people of Kenya. That I will undertake my duties as the Speaker of the Senate with due diligence and that I will obey respect, uphold, preserve protect and defend the Constitution of Kenya,” he stated.
He lauded his opponents for upholding the rule of law during the ceremony.
“Honourable members, I feel greatly honoured for be elected to the position of Speaker of the Senate. I am humbled by the immense confidence and the task that you have bestowed on me. I also would like to salute my opponents for their high degree of democracy,” he pointed out.
He stressed the importance of the work ahead and underscored the need for everyone to join hands and work together.
“Given the high expectations that the people of Kenya have in the devolved system of governance, there is little or no option for us to succeed. Devolution is envisioned to meet the challenge to take resources to the people. The primary mandate of the Senate as per article 96 of the Constitution will be to represent the counties and serve them,” he observed.
After being elected, Ethuro presided over the election of the Deputy-Speaker where Amani’s George Khaniri was pitted against Jubilee’s Kembi Gitura.
They each had no two-thirds majority in the first round of voting with Gitura leading with 38 votes against Khaniri’s 29 forcing Ethuro to order a second round of polling which was decided by a simple majority.
In second balloting, Senator Gitura emerged the victor after getting 38 votes against Khaniri’s 29.
“Standing Order 7 paragraph 4 requires that the candidate who receives the highest number of votes in the fresh elections shall be declared elected as the deputy speaker. Senator Khaniri George Munyasa 29 votes, Senator Kembi Gitura James, 38 votes. Pursuant to that, I now wish to declare Kembi Gitura James as the duly elected deputy speaker,” he announced.
The roles of the Kenya Senate under the Constitution will be to debate and approve county bills and further determine the allocation of national revenue to be distributed according to the counties.
It will also represent the interests of the counties at the national level and consider and determine the resolution of impeachment of the president or his deputy.
KICC will temporarily host the Senate as renovation works continue at the Old Chamber in Parliament Buildings.