NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Jubilee coalition flexed its numerical strength in the National Assembly and took control of the Budget and CDF committees in what the Leader of the Majority Coalition in the National Assembly Aden Duale said was a sign of things to come when the MPs will elect leaders in the remaining 22 committees next week.
In the CDF Committee, United Republican Party (URP) Moses Lessonet (Eldama Ravine) took the chairman’s seat unopposed while The National Alliance’s (TNA) Esther Gathogo (Ruiru) was also unopposed for the vice- chairperson’s post in an election where CORD MPs seemed to be caught flatfooted because their members were not present to propose one of their own.
Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi was elected unopposed to head the Budget and Appropriations Committee after UDF’s Alfred Sambu (Webuye) dropped his bid in his favour.
URP’s Mary Emase (Teso South) fought off a challenge from Wiper Democratic Party’s Shukran Hussein Gure (Garissa, CWR) to clinch the vice-chairperson’s post. Emase garnered 21 votes against Gure’s 13 votes.
While Leader of Minority Coalition Francis Nyenze dismissed claims that CORD lawmakers had lost hope in contesting seats in the committees, Duale gave the picture of a choreographed script which was only waiting to be repeated whenever a committee went into an election.
“The position of Jubilee today as we have started this morning is that the chairs and vice-chairs of all the other committees… we have decided will come from the Jubilee Coalition,” Duale stated.
Nyenze agreed that CORD had been subdued by ‘Jubilee’s tyranny of numbers’ and were now negotiating ‘to at least be allowed to chair some committees.’
“We are trying to do some negotiations with the Majority Leader so that we not only get to chair PIC (Public Investments Committee) and PAC (Public Accounts (Committee), but also get to chair this leadership positions. It’s a matter of give and take,” Nyenze said.
Duale was clearly reading from a different script when he was asked about ‘the power sharing’ negotiations.
“By the time we are coming to a committee to participate in elections we have done enough consensus within our coalition that we will know who will be the chair and vice chair and that will be the trend,” Duale said.
Elections for the committees on Delegated Legislation, Justice and Legal Affairs and that on Administration and National Security were postponed after the members could not raise the required quorum to hold a sitting.
Each of the committees has an average of 30 members but could not get a minimum of nine members in order to sit and conduct the elections.
Director of Committee Services Florence Abonyo explained that the four committees were required to hold their elections on Friday because of the nature of the work pending before them.
The Budget and Appropriations Committee has 14 days to finalise the scrutiny of the budget making process. This task is complicated by the fact that it will rely on reports from the other departmental committees, which are to hear from the respective Cabinet Secretary they are overseeing.
The Budget Committee will take findings from each of the committees and incorporate them in its report which will then be submitted to the National Treasury after getting House approval.
The Committee on Delegated Legislation will handle the petition by Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi seeking to remove from office the chairperson and commissioners of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
The Administration and National Security Committee and that of Justice and Legal Affairs are each expected to hold approval hearings for Secretary to the Cabinet nominee Francis Kimemia and Deputy Chief Justice nominee Kalpana Rawal on Wednesday.
Members of the National Assembly on Thursday amended the House Standing Orders to allow the minority side to chair the two oversight committees that have been at the centre of controversy in the formation of departmental committees.
The amendments were intended to accommodate the agreement arrived at between both sides of the House to end the prolonged stalemate.