What you need to know:
- ODM’s secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said that all political parties can either be on the majority or the minority side, but not both.
- Minority leader John Mbadi said they were reviewing ODM MPs’ membership in various committees and could replace non-active members.
The two main political parties in the National Super Alliance (Nasa) – the Raila Odinga-led ODM and Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper – are headed for a major clash over parliamentary positions after the latter indicated that it will formally join the Jubilee Coalition.
ODM, which is the largest partner in the coalition, on Friday told Wiper to relinquish all the positions the party holds in Parliament courtesy of the Nasa coalition.
Amani National Congress (ANC), leader Musalia Mudavadi also backed ODM’s calls, saying the Political Parties Act is clear on the matter.
Wiper’s top decision-making organ, the National Executive Council, on Tuesday gave the greenlight for the party to enter into a coalition agreement with the ruling party in line with the emerging political realignments in the country.
According to a statement by Wiper party’s secretary-general Judith Sijeny, NEC made the decision following the “realisation that Nasa has become totally dysfunctional”.
ODM’s secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said that all political parties can either be on the majority or the minority side, but not both.
“The positions held by Wiper by virtue of being part of the minority must be relinquished upon their joining the majority side,” Mr Sifuna said.
“But knowing Wiper and their leader, I’m sure the plan is to firmly appear undecided as always to keep eating from both pots. If having your cake and eating it was a party, it would be Wiper.”
ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula and Ford Kenya’s secretary-general Eseli Simiyu also pointed out that there is no way Wiper will continue clinging onto the minority positions should the party go ahead to ratify its deal with Jubilee.
“By announcing that his party will form a post-election deal with Jubilee, that automatically kicks Kalonzo out of Nasa and once they put pen to paper on the deal, we will jointly as ANC and ODM, do a letter to the Registrar of Political Parties and kick them out of Nasa completely,” Mr Savula said.
Dr Simiyu said: “Wiper will have to relinquish those positions should they decide to officially join Jubilee.”
He said that, however, for Nasa to be dissolved, at least three partners must leave the coalition.
Nasa consists of ODM, Wiper, ANC, Ford Kenya and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).
Wiper and former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s CCM have already indicated they will be joining Jubilee.
Should Wiper party go ahead to join Jubilee, its main casualties would be Senate minority chief whip Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and National assembly deputy minority leader Robert Mbui.
Mr Kilonzo yesterday agreed that “the implications of leaving Nasa is that we will lose our leadership positions”.
“So far the party has not signed any post-coalition agreement with Jubilee. Although I was not at the meeting, my understanding is that the NEC resolved that the negotiating team will explore the possibilities of a post-coalition deal.”
“We have not discussed any details on the termination of our membership in Nasa and the legal implications of joining Jubilee,” said Mr Kilonzo.
He pointed out that the legal implications of crossing the floor would have to be considered and resolved before such a coalition is agreed upon.
For now, the Makueni senator said he is not aware of any discussions as vice-chair and member of the negotiating team.
He told ANC to forget “the wishful thinking” that they would inherit the Wiper positions.
“The onus would be still be on ODM (if) that happened. They (ANC) would not be beneficiaries as they seem to assume,” Mr Kilonzo added.
As the push and pull in Nasa continued, ODM also indicated that it may be forced to withdraw names of its members who did not attend parliamentary committee meetings from January to October last year.
Minority leader John Mbadi said they were reviewing ODM MPs’ membership in various committees and could replace non-active members.
Mr Mbadi indicated that the party was reviewing a report by House committee clerks on how members attended sittings to find out whether absentees were interested in such committees or not.
“Some MPs will be spared because some may have been absent for valid reasons,” the ODM chairman said.
House Speaker Justin Muturi had earlier cautioned that lawmakers risk being removed from the various House teams should they fail to take their committee work seriously.