Azimio kicks up House majority storm in row on its ‘defected’ MPs
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party is spoiling for a fight with President-elect William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance after claiming that some MPs elected in parties that signed a pact with the Raila Odinga-led outfit have illegally moved to the Deputy President’s camp.
The MPs in question are 12 elected in former Kilifi governor Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), ex-Machakos governor Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap, Mandera Senator-elect Ali Roba’s United Democratic Movement (UDM), and Ugenya MP Dave Ochieng’s Movement for Democratic Growth (MDG).
Azimio says the lawmakers are still legally tied to it, which gives it a slim 167:158 advantage over Kenya Kwanza. Azimio wants this tally used to determine the majority party, a position it said it will not cede even if the parties legally exit the coalition after the MPs are sworn in.
Politically, the 12 and 10 independent candidates supporting Dr Ruto guarantee Kenya Kwanza a majority in the House and control over who becomes Speaker.
Next battle frontier
It is on this basis that the next battle frontier is the Speaker’s seat, who may be called upon to provide direction to the House on whether majority and minority slots can be changed midway through the life of Parliament. A clause in the Azimio deed of agreement ties the 12 MPs to the outfit until November.
“No party may withdraw from the coalition six months before the August 2022 General Election or within three months after the date of the said General Election,” the agreement states in Article 22 under the heading ‘Withdrawal of Parties’.
In April this year, the Registrar of Political Parties thwarted an attempt by Maendeleo Chap Chap and PAA from bolting out of the coalition as they had not meet the requirements outlined in the coalition agreement.
No changes midway
ODM chairman John Mbadi, who is poised to be the majority leader in case Azimio wing wins the legal argument, said majority and minority parties are determined from the start of the life of parliament and do not change midway.
Buoyed by the win registered by Azimio affiliate parties in Pokot South, Kitui Rural and Kacheliba constituencies, Mr Mbadi insisted that the debate over the majority and minority parties has now been settled.
Pokot South MP-elect David Pkosing Wednesday told the Nation that his win has confirmed Azimio is the majority party in the House.