NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – Former Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka has been elected Speaker of the Senate in the 12th Parliament.
Lusaka who was sworn-in immediately after being declared winner by the Clerk of the Senate, Jeremiah Nyegenye, said he will work closely with Senators from across the political divide to ensure they deliver on their mandate.
“I, therefore, accept with humility; and pledge that I shall perform to my utmost ability, the constitutional responsibilities and duties of the Office of Speaker of the Senate for the next five years, with diligence and appropriate tact,” said Lusaka in his acceptance speech.
Lusaka becomes the second Senate Speaker with 42 votes out of the total 67 votes cast after he was voted in round two.
His main competitor and former National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Farah Maalim came in second after managing to garner 25 votes.
The Senators were forced to go into a second round after all the candidates failed to meet the two-thirds threshold which was 45 votes in round one.
In the first round, Lusaka garnered 40 votes, Maalim 23, Ethuro 2, Paul Ribathi one and one spoilt vote.
In the second round, a winner is declared by a simple majority.
Prior to the voting, some of the Opposition Senators questioned the legitimacy of Lusaka’s candidature to contest for the Office of the Speaker.
Siaya Senator James Orengo and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr argued that Lusaka was not fit to contest as he faced integrity issues when he was the Governor for Bungoma.
Senate Clerk Nyegenye, however, overruled the Opposition claims and ordered the Senators to go on with the election.
“Allegations made on individuals who have not been convicted would not lock them out from contesting,” ruled Nyegenye.
The Senate Deputy Speaker’s election failed to take place after all the candidates pulled out from the race by Wednesday.