UDA locks Kenya Kwanza partners out of parliamentary commission

Patrick Makau

From left: (Top) John Kinyua, Faith Gitau and Mohamed Ali, (Bottom) Okong’o Omogeni, John Waluke and Patrick Makau.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The UDA party has bagged all four slots allocated to the Kenya Kwanza Alliance in the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), locking out its partners.

However, the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Kwanza Coalition has distributed its three slots to its three main affiliate parties – ODM, Jubilee and Wiper.

The list Kenya Kwanza has submitted to Parliament for approval on Wednesday this week has UDA MPs Faith Gitau (Nyandarua) and Mohamed Ali (Nyali) from the National Assembly and senators Joyce Korir (nominated) and John Kinyua (Laikipia).

The Azimio list has Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni (ODM), Sirisia MP John Waluke (Jubilee) and Mavoko MP Patrick Makau (Wiper).

PSC has 11 members with the Speaker of the National Assembly as chairman and the Senate Clerk as its secretary.

Article 127 of the constitution provides for the manner of constituting the commission. It states that seven members shall be appointed by Parliament from among its members of whom four shall be nominated equally from both Houses by the party or coalition of parties forming the national govern­ment, and at least two should be women.

Three other members shall be nominated by the parties not forming the national government, with at least one nominated from each House and at least one shall be a woman.

The commission also includes a man and a woman appointed by Parliament from among persons who are experienced in public affairs but are not members of Parliament.

It is not clear why UDA settled on Mr Kinyua and Ms Gitau considering that they come from neighbouring counties and are from the same ethnic community, raising questions about ethnic diversity and regional balance in the distribution of appointments.

UDA is also pushing to have former Uasin Gishu County Assembly Speaker Isaac Terer picked as a non-MP member of the PSC.

During the recent and previous Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group meetings, it was specifically agreed that Ms Gitau and Mr Kinyua should not present themselves for election to any position in the committees of the two Houses.

On the Azimio side, Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang was previously believed to be headed to the PSC. However, his recent election as chairman of the Senate’s County Public Accounts Committee and that of Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda as vice-chairperson of the County Public Investments and Special Funds Committee gave Mr Okong’o the opportunity to serve in the PSC as the coalition works to achieve balance.

Some leaders from Mr Omogeni’s Gusii community have in the recent past lamented that they are getting a raw deal in ODM in the distribution of its share of the committee and leadership positions in the two Houses.

Siaya Senator and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s elder brother Oburu Odinga had expressed interest to be in the commission, but speculation that Ms Winnie Odinga, his niece, is headed to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) saw him left out.

Political analyst Amos Nyasani said that if Mr Odinga wants to keep Gusiiland, he has no option but to nominate “one of its own” to the remaining positions.

“Mr Omogeni was the ODM candidate in the Nyamira senatorial elections of 2013. He lost the seat but still stood with the party. He is the man who deserves the PSC position,” said Mr Nyasani.

PSC is responsible for providing services and facilities to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of Parliament, constituting offices in the parliamentary service and appointing and supervising office holders.

It prepares Parliament’s annual estimates of expenditure and submits them to the National Assembly for approval, and exercises budgetary control.

It is also responsible for undertaking, singly or jointly with other relevant organisations, programmes to promote the ideals of parliamentary democracy and performing other functions necessary for the well-being of the members and staff of Parliament.