, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has officially assumed the position of Leader of Government Business in Parliament.
National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende said on Thursday that this follows Prime Minister Raila Odinga\’s move to let the VP chair the crucial House Business Committee (HBC).
Mr Marende told the House that both Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki had written to him appointing Mr Musyoka to the position.
"I am therefore satisfied that the appointment of the VP jointly by the PM and President fully accords with the provisions of the Constitution and the National Accord and Reconciliation Act. Henceforth, therefore, the VP shall also serve as the chair of the HBC having been duly appointed," he said.
The VP, who is currently attending a conference in China, is expected to take up the position once he returns next week. Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgey will serve as his deputy.
According to Standing Orders, the Leader of Government Business means, "the minister designated by the Government as the Leader of Government Business in the House"
When the president appointed Mr Musyoka to the position soon after the National Accord become operational, Prime Minister Raila Odinga wrote to the Speaker appointing himself as the Leader of Government Business.
During the impasse in April 2009, the House was treated to heated exchanges as the Orange Democratic Movement made good its threat to contest the meaning of ‘Government’ in an attempt to support their case that the President consults the PM while picking the Leader of Government Business.
ODM argued that in the spirit of the National Accord the President should have consulted the PM before making the appointment, but PNU countered that the Constitution that vested executive authority of Government on the President was left intact.
Mr Marende took over the leadership of the Committee until the coalition government names a person “consensually” agreed by both sides.
"I sincerely thank this House for the support and cooperation extended to me during my tenure as the Chair of the House Business Committee," Mr Marende told MPs in his communication on Thursday.
Traditionally, the important slot has been chaired by the Leader of Government Business.
Government Chief Whips drawn from the ODM and PNU have been acting in that position on a rotational basis.