NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 25 – Former Deputy Speaker of National Assembly Farah Maalim has become the first aspirant to be cleared to contest Thursday’s Senate Speaker’s election.
Speaking after he presented his application, Maalim said he has offered his candidature based on merit and his performance in the 10th Parliament.
“It’s my humble prayer and wish that many of my colleagues who have made it back to Parliament and the Senate for that matter and many Kenyans who have made it to the House for the first time, will meditate and put the nation first,” he said.
“This is not a House where partisan interests and politics is going to attain, it is a small lean House that is supposed to maintain the unity of this country.”
His bid is backed by Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni and Wajir Senator Abdirahman Ali Hassan.
He said he will not rely solely on the support of Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) affiliate parties in order to win the election.
The Clerk of the Senate Jeremiah Nyegenye said more applications were expected before the deadline on Tuesday morning.
Maalim is likely to face three-time National Assembly Speaker Francis Kaparo, former Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro in the race to become Speaker of Kenya’s second Senate since Independence in 1963.
“I was in the Seventh Parliament, where Kaparo served as Speaker, he is an honourable Kenyan and has done a lot for this country as a patriot. But I am running against anybody and everybody who is going to run for that office. We will see who carry the hearts and souls of the Senators who will be in the House at that time,” said Maalim.
Others who are yet to return their nomination papers are Josephat Orangi, Eric Desailly Omondi and Jane Mwihaki Githaiga.
Wilfred Machage (ODM), Martha Wangari (UDF), Kembi Gitura (TNA) and Moses Mositet (URP) are seeking the Senate Deputy Speaker’s seat.
Meanwhile, Machana Mukoa who hopes to vie for the National Assembly Speaker’s seat is complaining of restrictive requirements that makes it almost impossible for independent candidates to win the seat.
Capital FM News ran into Mukoa in the precincts of Parliament Buildings as he paced about, trying to lobby at least 20 MPs to back his bid.
Apart from incumbent Speaker Kenneth Marende, nine others had picked nomination papers by Monday including Justin Muturi, Mohamed Abdikadir (UDF) and unsponsored candidates Alex Otunga, Amos Otieno and Cosmas Koech .
Sotik MP-Elect Joyce Laboso (URP) and her Makueni counterpart Dan Maanzo (Wiper) have already picked their papers while Balambala MP-elect Abdikadir Omar Aden (ODM) is yet to pick the papers after expressing his interest in the seat.
Three more candidates, Alex Otunga, Amos Otieno and Cosmas Koech on Sunday joined the list of contestants for the National Assembly Speaker’s position.
The new Parliamentary Standing Orders require an aspirant to have 20 sitting MPs to endorse the bid, which Mukoa says gives former MPs and party sponsored aspirants an upper hand.
The elections, to take place on Thursday in both Houses, will be by secret ballot and will require that a candidate is supported the by votes of two thirds majority of all members of the House.