Mt Kenya MPs defy Ruto on election of Eala lawmakers

Winnie Odinga and Kennedy Kalonzo

Winnie Odinga (left) and Kennedy Kalonzo (right) when they presented their documents for EALA nomination at County Hall.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Kenya Kwanza MPs defied President William Ruto last evening when they voted out two of his most preferred five party-backed regional assembly nominees, even as Azimio leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka registered big wins.

In a meeting chaired by President Ruto in State House on Wednesday, Kenya Kwanza had settled on former Mombasa senator Hassan Omar, ex-nominated MP David Sankok, ex-Nandi Woman Representative Zipporah Kering, ex-nominated senator Falhadha Iman Dekow, and former United Republican Party (URP) secretary-general Fred Muteti as their preferred line-up.

The Nation has, however, learnt that Mt Kenya MPs were not happy with the final five settled on at State House, saying at least one of their own deserved a slot in the regional assembly. 

Some MPs in the Kenya Kwanza camp said it was also wrong for the President to openly endorse the five, saying the move caused discomfort in the coalition.

“Within the coalition, they should have known the favourite candidate; endorsing the five in public meant others felt unwanted,” said an MP who asked to remain anonymous so as to freely discuss the matter.

President William Ruto addressing Members of Parliament during the Parliamentary group meeting

President William Ruto addressing Members of Parliament during the Parliamentary group meeting, at State House Nairobi, Kenya on November 16, 2022.

Photo credit: PCS

By the end of the voting, those chosen were Mr Omar, Ms Kering, Mr Sankok, Mwangi Maina, and former Igembe Central MP Cyprian Kubai Iringo.

But even though Mr Iringo beat Ms Dekow in the number of votes, he was knocked out of the list because of the requirement of gender, with the ex-nominated senator taking up the last of the five seats that were due to Kenya Kwanza.

Last night, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa admitted the divisions in the Kenya Kwanza camp but did not go into the details.

“Like every election, it comes with divisions. This was no different. But we want to move on and ask all the nine Eala representatives to give us the best in Arusha and help us get the best laws,” said Mr Ichung’wa.

National Assembly Minority whip Junet Mohamed yesterday termed Mr Maina’s election “one that makes him a hero.”

“Mwangi Maina is a hero in this election. He was rejected in this election by his party; that he was not worthy of an Eala nomination. This is a young man at 28 who deserves all the chances,” Mr Mohamed said, to which Mr Ichung’wa protested, saying Mr Maina had not been rejected and had been rightly elected.

Azimio winners

On the Azimio side, those chosen were Kennedy Kalonzo, Mr Musyoka’s son; Mr Odinga’s daughter, Winnie, former Kieni MP Kanini Kega, and Mombasa politician Suleiman Shahbal.

“We want to thank the House for giving Kennedy Kalonzo the highest number of votes for the second Parliament running. That shows that for him, it is not even about the parent. It is about the man that he is,” said Deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui.

Winnie Odinga and Kennedy Kalonzo

Winnie Odinga (left) and Kennedy Kalonzo (right) when they presented their documents for EALA nomination at County Hall.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

For the Kenya Kwanza camp, a section of Central MPs is said to have felt that they were given the short end of the stick, saying Mr Iringo and Mr Maina should have been rewarded.

To fulfil their agenda, the lawmakers teamed up with their Azimio counterparts in the unlikely coalition of convenience to amend the State House list at the ballot by also voting for Mr Kega.

To Azimio, the voting provided a better opportunity to rock the Kenya Kwanza boat by voting for Mr Iringo and Mr Maina.

Pokot South MP David Pkosing, who confirmed voting against the President’s line-up, said as Azimio they were happy with the turn of events. 

“We are here to play politics not to sell fish and I’m unapologetic that I voted for other candidates and not those on the line-up,” Mr Pkosing told the Nation.

The Kenya Kwanza MPs who defied the President were buoyed by the fact that the voting was a secret ballot, hence there was going to be no printout for the President to know who defied him.

Multiple sources told the Nation that if Kenya Kwanza had agreed on the line-up at State House, then it was wrong to have the same 15 candidates still on the ballot.

“The 10 candidates who were dropped at State House should have officially withdrawn from the race and the speaker make that official communication on the floor of the House. Leaving them on the ballot meant that they could be voted for by any member,” said an MP.

Sources told the Nation that a Cabinet Secretary was also seen in the members’ lounge yesterday morning and her mission was not known. Those in the know suggested that the CS was lobbying for the Mt Kenya MPs.

East African Legislative Assembly MPs Suleiman Shahbal (left) and Hassan Omar

East African Legislative Assembly MPs Suleiman Shahbal (left) and Hassan Omar at Parliament buildings Nairobi on November 17, 2022. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

“If they had agreed on the line-up at State House, why did the CS then come and meet different people?” asked an MP.

Wednesday meeting

Unconfirmed reports also indicate that another high-level meeting of those who were disgruntled with the State House line-up took place on Wednesday evening when the MPs said they would vote for their favourite candidates, and not those unveiled at State House.

But even as those from Mt Kenya celebrated, a plan by Western lawmakers to rally behind former Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito flopped, with sources saying a division emerged, prompting some to vote for Mr Shahbal.

The genesis of the division, those in the know said, was a meeting that a section of lawmakers from Kakamega County had with Dr Ruto on Saturday at State House.

Those who met the President included former Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) and Titus Khamala (Lurambi).

Other lawmakers got irked, saying their colleagues did not inform them of the meeting, a move that also led to the postponement of a strategy meeting that was to be held by the lawmakers on Sunday last week at Manzoni Lodge to plot for the election.

In Azimio, the nominees included Mr Kalonzo, Winfred Mutua, Hellen Ndeti, Ms Odinga, Shahbal, Mohammed Diriye (Wajir South), Beatrice Askul, Timothy Bosire, has Kanini Kega, Jeremiah Kioni and Fatuma Gedi.

The nine names will now be transmitted to Arusha, Tanzania, for the swearing-in later next month before they start their five-year tour of duty at the regional assembly.

The assembly liaises with national assemblies of partner states on matters relating to the East African Community, debating and approving the budget of the community, considering annual reports on the activities of the community, including annual audit reports and any other reports referred to it. 

It also discusses all matters referred to it regarding the community and makes recommendations as it may deem necessary for the implementation of the community’s treaty.


Clerk of the National Assembly Samuel Njoroge (left) Clerk of Senate Jeremiah M. Nyegenye (right) Leader of Majority Kimani Ichung'wa present provisional certificate to Godfrey Maina Karobia (2nd right) for a member of the East African Legislative Assembly 2022, at County Hall on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

First wins

Earlier in the Senate, Mr Kalonzo, Ms Odinga and Mr Omar registered first wins as they awaited the 349-member National Assembly to cast their ballot. 

A total of 58 senators voted, with Mr Omar leading with 46 votes, followed by Mr Kalonzo with 45, Ms Falhada (43), and Mr Muteti (39).

Mr Shahbal had 38 votes, followed by Ms Kering (37), Ms Odinga (35), Mr Sankok (35), with Ms Gedi getting 31.

Kenya Kwanza had submitted 15 candidates for the election. However, only Mr Maina (29), former Mbalambala MP Aden Abdikadir (13) and Iringo Cyprian Kubai (12) put up a fight.

The rest of the candidates garnered three or less votes, with Rebecca Luweiya having three votes and Okengo Nyambane, Sheikh Nassir Ali and Lilian Tomitom getting two votes each. 

Ann Cherono got a single vote, while Salim Mohamed and Jonas Vincent received none.

On the other side, Jubilee’s Kega received 29 votes, while party secretary-general and ex-Ndaragwa MP Kioni received one vote. Jubilee had three contenders, with Ms Gedi as the other candidate.

For the Wiper side, both Mutua and Ndeti did not receive any vote from the senators. The wiper had a single slot.

Former Kitutu Masaba MP and ODM Treasurer Bosire garnered 17 votes, Mr Kizito had nine, Diriye four, while Askul had one vote.