What you need to know:
- Amid intense lobbying, the race has narrowed down to MPs John Waluke (Sirisia), Adan Keynan (Eldas) and Kamukunji’s Yusuf Hassan.
- The scramble for the single slot has seen the long-serving legislators reach out to their counterparts.
- Party Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni confirmed the three are the only individuals who have expressed interest in the position.
A tug of war has ensued within Jubilee Party over its representative in the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) after three MPs expressed interest in the position.
Amid intense lobbying, the race has narrowed down to MPs John Waluke (Sirisia), Adan Keynan (Eldas) and Kamukunji’s Yusuf Hassan.
The scramble for the single slot has seen the long-serving legislators reach out to their counterparts.
Party Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni confirmed the three are the only individuals who have expressed interest in the position.
However, he said the party and the larger Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition are yet to make a decision on their representatives to PSC.
“These are positions that the party decides but when you are in a coalition arrangement like the one we are in, decisions are informed by more than just the party itself. The position should not create acrimony for the reason that it will be eventually taken by one person,” said Mr Kioni.
That notwithstanding, Mr Waluke has maintained that he was promised the position by former President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio leader Raila Odinga. He pointed out that though political promises change, he is sure that it has not changed in this case.
“This matter is settled to me or until the former president or Raila tell me otherwise. Otherwise, I know that the two appointed me for this position and I am there to say. We only have people who are trying to lobby but this time I am not going to leave it for anyone,” said the MP.
Mr Waluke said he is assured of support from three-quarters of MPs who want change at the commission, should the decision go to the wire.
He said PSC needs fresh ideas and an individual who will fight for MPs’ and staff welfare.
“The new members have come in and they want people with new ideas like myself. I believe if I am given that position we will get some changes. Members and staff have been complaining but he is just there. I will make sure the commission fights for members and staff welfare,” he said.
For his part, Mr Keynan, now serving his fifth term and who served in PSC in the last Parliament, did not let much out, only confirming that he is in the race to retain his position in the coveted commission.
“I am interested in retaining my position. However, this is the prerogative of the party and I will support whoever the party nominates,” said Mr Keynan.
Mr Kioni said they are waiting for Speaker Moses Wetang’ula to rule on which coalition will be the majority in the House before any decision is made on nominees from Azimio.
But he added that ethnicity, regional balance and acceptability by the MPs will be critical in picking the nominees.
He said the Speaker’s declaration is important because it will inform whether Azimio gets four or three slots depending on whether they are the majority or minority side, respectively.
“We believe as Azimio that if it is a question of arithmetic, we have the bigger number of MPs as was declared by IEBC but we still expect the Speaker to rule on the matter because there will be contestation on the floor,” he said.
The 10-member PSC is in charge of the welfare of MPs and parliamentary staff and is chaired by the National Assembly Speaker, with the Clerk of the Senate serving as the secretary.
The commission has a mixed membership drawn from the National Assembly and the Senate with the party with a majority in Parliament allocated four slots while the minority party gets three.
According to Article 127 that establishes PSC, of the 10 slots, two must go to members who are not elected or nominated as members of Parliament.
PSC’s roles include providing services and facilities to ensure the efficient running of Parliament, constituting offices in the parliamentary service, and appointing and supervising office holders.