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Murkomen and Kihika lost their Majority Leader and Majority Chief Whip positions respectively on Tuesday after a formal communication on the changes was relayed to the House by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka/FILE

Kenya

Temporary reprieve for Murkomen and Kihika at Parties Disputes Tribunal

NAIROBI, Kenya May 13 – The Political Parties Disputes Resolution Tribunal has temporarily suspended the coalition deal signed on Monday between the ruling Jubilee Party and KANU pending a case filed against it.

This follows a petition by Senators Susan Kihika (Nakuru) Caleb Kositany (Soy), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) and a Kenyan Albert Mutai.

The petition was filed at the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal with respondents named as the Registrar of Political Parties, Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju and acting party Chairman Nelson Dzuya.

Jubilee Party and KANU are named as interested parties.

The petition sought an injunction restraining Tuju and the Acting Chairman from making any coalition agreements on behalf of the Jubilee party.

The Tribunal’s Deputy Registrar effectively issued an order suspending the agreement signed at State House during a Parliamentary Group Meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, which stripped Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen of his Majority Seat, as well as Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika’s Majority Chief Whip post.

“An interim order be and is hereby issued restraining the 2nd and 3rd respondents from making coalition agreements on behalf of the 1st interested party, Jubilee Party with any party/parties without a valid formal resolution on a duly convened National Executive Committee of Jubilee Party,” the order reads in part.

Murkomen was replaced by West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio while Kihika was replaced by Senator Irungu Kangata of Murang’a.

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The Deputy Majority Leader Senator Fatuma Dulo of Isiolo retained her seat with nominated Senator Farhiya Ali Haji taking the Deputy Majority Chief Whip’s post.

The merger is largely seen as aimed at trimming Deputy President William Ruto’s influence in the Senate to size.

Murkomen has dismissed the Senate leadership changes as null and void.

Addressing journalists shortly after the changes were made public by State House, he said 23 Jubilee senators did not receive a formal invitation to attend the meeting, adding the Parliamentary Group meeting convened by President Kenyatta fell short of provisions of the Senate Standings Orders.

“No vote was carried out as required by the Standing Order 19 to remove the Majority Leader and Majority Chief Whip,” Murkomen said.

Kihika, in a letter endorsed by 22 Jubilee Party Senators wrote to Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka protesting the changes.

She claimed the State House Parliamentary Group meeting was only attended by eleven senators, falling short of the minimum threshold of eighteen.

“What they are doing is forging signatures, they had 11 senators in Jubilee, it is a requirement that there is a notice of invitation, agenda must be clear, we were not aware what that was and they did not have enough senators to do what they did,” she said.

In the letter addressed to Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, the 23 legislators said no vote was taken in accordance with Standing Orders.

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