, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 10 – Senate House Committee elections for chairpersons and deputies turned dramatic Wednesday with a section of Opposition lawmakers protesting the process saying the exercise was not democratic.
Led by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, Roads and Transportation Opposition Committee members staged a walk out during voting accusing their colleagues in Jubilee of renouncing their voting rights and only acting as voting machines while they receive orders from the party leadership on whom they should vote for.
“We are a disappointed lot because we have witnessed that parliamentary committees are no longer independent but are controlled from State House. The Executive has gone to an extent of influencing on who should get what yet we are supposed to be an oversight committee that is mandated to check the Executive,” protested Malala moments after the walk out.
Malala and his other four colleagues in the committee who were angered by how the exercise was conducted lamented of lack of free will from their colleagues in Jubilee whom as they said were compelled by the party leadership to elect certain individuals.
The Senate committee elections which commenced on Tuesday have so far seen majority of Jubilee members bag the top positions in what might have informed the anger exhibited by the NASA Senators.
Despite the protest, the five Jubilee committee members proceeded to elect Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi as the chairman unopposed and his Marsabit counterpart Godana Hargura as deputy with the two leaders extending an olive branch to the Opposition Senators urging them to put their political differences aside and join hands in delivering services to Kenyans.
“Kenyans expect us to work and I want to assure Kenyans that we do not know political boundaries as a committee or political affiliations, what we know is that we have to deliver on the mandate on this committee and it is my sincere hope that our colleagues from the Opposition will join us in delivering services t Kenyans,” said Wamatangi.
Out of the total 17 committees, nine committees have so far elected their chairpersons and deputies with five committees expected to vote Thursday bringing the elections to a close.
Among those elected Wednesday include Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang who will now head the Public Accounts and Investment Committee deputized by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.
Kajwang who thanked the members for expressing confidence in him said he will work tirelessly to ensure that Kenyans get value for their money and that resources allocated to counties are properly utilized.
“As a committee it will be our business to ensure that monies allocated to counties go into proper use and when there are queries we will summon Governors so that they can explain to us in detail where and how every penny allocated to them was spent,” said Kajwang.
Earlier, speculation was rife that Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri was the preferred NASA candidate to chair the crucial committee but in an apparent twist he was seemingly short-changed when his nomination failed to get backing effectively locking him out of the race.
Bomet Senator Christopher Langat was elected to chair the Education committee deputized by Uasin Gishu Senator Margret Kamar.
Kirinyaga Senator Kibiru Charles was elected as chairman to the Tourism, Trade and Industrialization Committee and will be deputized by Lamu Senator Anuar Loititip.
Others elected are Senator Johnson Sakaja who will chair the Committee on Labour and Social Welfare deputized by Senator Alice Milgo and Senator Philip Salau who will now chair the Committee on National Cohesion, equal opportunity and Regional Integration deputized by Senator Waqo Naomi Jillo.