, NAIROBI, Kenya May 31 – Parliament held a special sitting on Thursday morning to pick Kenya’s next representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly and elected four women out of the nine new members.
The new EALA legislators are Joseph Kiangoi Ombasa (108 votes), Nancy Lung’ahi Abisai (106 votes), Mumbi Ng’aru (76 votes), Judith Nayiai Pareno (76 votes) Abubakar Zein Abubakar (70 votes) from the Orange Democratic Movement; Saoli ole Nkanae (67 votes) and Peter Mutuku Mathuki (58 votes) from the PNU Coalition cluster.
MPs conducted a separate ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote to approve the extension of the term of Sarah Bonaya who had been the only candidate nominated by KANU.
Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled that Bonaya needed to get 50 percent of the total votes cast. She garnered 125 votes with just five opposing her.
A runoff vote had to be conducted in the afternoon to break a tie between two of the 19 shortlisted nominees – Catherine Kimura and veteran journalist and former diplomat Abubakar Abdi Ogle, both of Narc Kenya, which is classified under the PNU cluster of parties.
Ogle carried the day, garnering 81 votes against Kimura’s 25 Yes vote.
Kimura was also seeking an extension of his tenure at the Arusha based assembly.
Basking in the victory, Joint Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo said he was the satisfied with the outcome, as his party ODM had provided three women as compared to one by their PNU counterpart.
“The one thing that ODM prides itself in, is the use of brains and proper use of brains,” he said.
Peter Mutuku had to fight off stiff competition from Jennifer Chepkwemoi Masis (52 votes) to scoop the slot allocated to the Wiper Democratic Movement under the PNU docket.
Political scheming and regional politics played a part in locking out some candidates, like Peter Odoyo and Ronald Ngeny who are staunch allies of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
MPs picked former North Mugirango MP Joseph Kiangoi ahead of Odoyo, his ex-comrade from Nyanza, in an apparent settling of scores with the Prime Minister.
But Midiwo’s described the matter as unfortunate; “when people meet in terms of tribe to bring the so called one-of-our-own because he is a Raila man or a Raila woman (it is unfortunate). We need to look at Kenyans as Kenyans, because if you make it through a list of 117 to 65 then to nine you must have something to offer as a Kenyan.”
Midiwo added; “We will live to fight for our friend another day.”
ODM has five slots while PNU has four which were picked from its six main parliamentary affiliates.