Jubilee rebels set to lose seats in parliamentary committees

January 22, 2018 3:39 pm
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Members of the four committees of Labour and Social Welfare, Agriculture, Environment and Broadcasting Committees leaders are set to dethrone their leaders who were elected against the party leadership’s choice/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 22 – Four parliamentary committees are Tuesday set to hold separate meetings in a bid to dismiss four Jubilee rebels from leadership positions, according to Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai.

Members of the four committees of Labour and Social Welfare, Agriculture, Environment and Broadcasting Committees leaders are set to dethrone their leaders who were elected against the party leadership’s choice.

Names of those on the chopping board include MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North) who head the Labour, Agriculture and Broadcasting Committees respectively as well Environment vice-chair Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) who are on the verge of losing their positions, their hard-line stance notwithstanding.

Deputy Majority Whip of the National Assembly Benjamin Washiali has already confirmed that respective Jubilee members of the four committees have already endorsed a motion of no-confidence against the four members, signalling the start of a process that will see the four axed.

“Signatures have already been collected and members have already appended their signatures on the vote of no-confidence motion. By tomorrow or the day after depending on what the Clerk would tell us a meeting would be convened to ensure that the defiant leaders are axed,” said Washiali.

But the four legislators led by the outspoken Keter have maintained that the scheme to de-whip them from their positions, a move they claim has been orchestrated by State House is an infringement towards the independence of Parliament and condemned in the strongest terms the role played by the Executive.

Keter argues that the government is out to suppress them and forcefully eject the four from the offices they hold so that weaker individuals can be imposed as chairs and vice chairs so that they can act as directed by the Executive.

“There are issues for instance in Agriculture touching on fertilizers where they have been importing fake fertilizers. The cartels now want to keep on importing fake fertilizers, maize, sugar among other commodities at the expense of the farmer,” said Keter.

Marakwet East MP Bowen and Vice-Chair to Environment Committee who also shares similar sentiments with Keter believes that the clamour to have them replaced is purely a witch-hunt that stands to benefit a few selfish individuals who are eyeing to engage in dubious deals under remiss chairs and vice-chairs that will be elected.

“The cartels opposed to Keter’s legitimacy as Chair in the Labour Committee is because of the interests they have in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). It has been a cash cow for so many years. Also in the Environment Committee, others are opposed to my vice-chairmanship because of the huge water projects that are being carried out in the country,” said Bowen.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has however downplayed claims of the existence of cartels insisting that the quest to have the four removed is entirely a party issue that was geared towards achieving regional balance in the allocation of the chair and vice-chair seats.

“As a party we believe in inclusivity of all Kenyans and regions where we got votes from and as a party we must ensure the leadership positions have been well distributed among our party members,” said Duale in a previous interview with Capital FM News.

If everything goes as planned Tuesday, at least according to the wishes of Jubilee Party, Bura MP Ali Wario stands to replace Keter as Chair to the Labour Committee while Mandera MP Adan Ali will replace Tiren as Chair in the Broadcasting Committee.

Sophia Abdi of Ijara is also set to replace Bowen in the position of Vice-Chair in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Even with the change of leadership looming in the four committees, Tuesday’s activities in Parliament are set to reignite a bitter standoff between the Judiciary and Parliament as a High Court order from December barring the party from de-whipping the four is still in force.

The four had obtained reprieve when Justice John Mativo temporarily suspended the decision by their party leaders to remove them from their various committee positions.

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