NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 30 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has endorsed Justin Muturi to retain the National Assembly Speaker’s post and former Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka for the Senate.
The Head of State was categorical at a Jubilee Party Parliamentary Group Meeting on Wednesday at State House, Nairobi that the two are the party’s favourites and urged members to support them Thursday during when the 12th Parliament sits.
But even as the meeting went on at State House, incumbent Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro was at Parliament lobbying MPs to support his re-election during a pre-swearing in and orientation session.
Ethuro exuded confidence in retaining the post although it is now clear that his fate has been sealed.
“I am absolutely and confidently not worried. I am more knowledgeable concerning matters of the Senate; I am a performer and trustworthy. I am sure the Members will elect me back,” said Ethuro.
On Tuesday, the Clerk to the Senate, Jeremiah Nyegenye released official communication that a total of seven candidates had made the cut for race to the Office of the Speaker and are due to know their fate on Thursday when all the 67 Senators will vote after taking their oaths of office.
“As at the close of the nomination period, a total of seven nomination papers for election to the Office of Speaker of the Senate had been returned and received in the Office of the Clerk of the Senate,” said Nyegenye.
Others on the race to unseat Ethuro are former National Assembly Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim and former Migori Senator Wilfred Machage among other candidates.
Machage who was also present during the Senators orientation ceremony said he is better placed to dethrone Ethuro owing to his vast experience he has had in the past.
“I have been a legislator for 15 years now. I have served in five ministries as an assistant minister in different capacities, and I have also served as an elected Senator. I think with the experience the Senators should elect me as their Speaker,” said Machage.
During the Parliamentary Group Meeting, Jubilee Party MPs are reported to have been whipped to endorse the election of Tharaka Nithi Senator-Elect Kindiki Kithure as the Deputy Speaker of the Senate although he was not among those who had been qualified after expiry of the nomination period on Tuesday morning.
In the Senate Deputy Speaker’s race, according to Nyegenye, only four candidates pushed to keep their ambitions alive to dethrone the incumbent Kembi Gitura after successfully returning their applications to Nyegenye’s office.
Muranga Senator Irungu Kang’ata, Nairobi Senator Johnson Arthur Sakaja, Kiambu Senator Paul Kimani Wamatangi and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika were keen on deputizing whoever clinches the Speaker’s seat.
However, a brief statement from State House indicates that Kihika will be the party’s Chief Whip while Kangata will deputise her.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen has been promoted and will now serve as the Senate Majority Leader if elected. He will be deputized by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo.
In the National Assembly; Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi will occupy the seat of the Deputy Speaker after he was the sole candidate to have submitted his nomination papers at the expiry of the set deadline.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale retains the Majority Leader post and he will be deputised by Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi.
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali replaces Katoo Ole Metito as the Chief Whip and will be deputized by Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire.