National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula must exercise statesmanship in the manner of handling the standoff over the position of Majority Leader.
Mr Wetang’ula recently said in Mombasa that, as the Speaker, he is an impartial arbiter. Kenyans are waiting to see if he will live up to his word and give the right interpretation of the Constitution and the Standing Orders or be swayed by party politics.
The verdict will be a litmus test on Wetang’ula and showcase how he will be arbitrating delicate matters of national importance for the next five years.
He should, therefore, demonstrate patriotism and sanitise the selfish party politics in which MPs illegally hop from a political formation to another.
Besides the Presidency, the next most powerful position is, perhaps, that of the Leader of the Majority party in the National Assembly. Kenyans expect the Speaker to strike a balance between political interests. The post requires a holder who will champion bipartisan interests that put the country first.
It will be prudent for Mr Wetang’ula to put Kenya Kwanza and Azimio interests aside and render a ruling that will give the National Assembly a person who will always be in touch with all MPs and easily build strong links.
During US President Barack Obama’s regime, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was instrumental in whipping support for ‘Obamacare’, first seen as a controversial and divisive healthcare bill but ended up beneficial.
Wetang’ula must, therefore, do the right thing without trying to appease either coalition. He must rise above partisan politics and give a determination that will define the country’s future.
Bearing in mind the fractious nature of our politics, Kenyans are waiting to see how Wetang’ula will navigate the interests of his Kenya Kwanza formation that have dominated the race for key parliamentary positions and stick to the law.
Th e 13th Parliament must get majority and minority leaders with charisma and power to command respect from lawmakers from across the political divide. That will even ease his job, freeing it from the unnecessary constant bickering that often divert the august House from its noble responsibility of articulating Kenyans concerns, such as the prevailing high cost of living.
This is an opportunity for Wetang’ula to build his legacy and chart the way forward on the leadership Kenyans can look up to. He must steer the legislative agenda for the benefit of all.
Despite having been elected by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) lawmakers in the 11th Parliament, Speaker Kenneth Marende set a precedent by rising above party politics with Solomonic moments like this one.
Fred Makana, Kiambu