Moses Wetang’ula
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Wetang’ula, Ichung’wah face the wrath of MPs over ‘partisanship’

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Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula at the chambers.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula is a man under siege, with MPs questioning his leadership style and calling for his removal.

They also want President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party to remove Mr Kimani Ichung’wah from his position as majority leader.

The lawmakers say the events following last Tuesday’s vote on the Finance Bill, 2024 proved that the House leaders and members had lost touch with their constituents. 

Nominated MP and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman John Mbadi said Mr Wetang’ula was the biggest problem in the August House, accusing him of killing quality debate and not being an impartial arbitrator. 

Kitui Rural MP David Mwikali Mboni urged President Ruto to undertake a purge in the House leadership.

“The aftermath of the happening at Parliament Buildings confirms that Kenyans have lost confidence in their representatives,” Mr Mboni said.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said the speaker had failed.

“How can you be a Speaker when you always dismiss members’ complaints yet they are the ones who voted to put you in office?” Mr Cherargei posed.

Some leaders, especially in President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance, who requested not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, also expressed their misgivings over Tuesday’s events, accusing the leadership of the House of being arrogant. 

Apart from Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Ichung’wah, they also want Majority Whip Silvanus Osoro replaced. 

“They lack leadership skills. Parliamentary leadership is about lobbying and that doesn’t mean ignoring the minority side just because they lack numbers. Voters are attacking us because of their remarks in public and also in the House,” said a Kenya Kwanza MP from the Central region.

Mr Mbadi took issue with Mr Wetang’ula’s dismissive attitude, denying members an opportunity to discuss the bill after it was slotted in the order paper without the approval of the House Business Committee (HBC).

On the deployment of the military to deal with protesters, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo took to social media platform X last Wednesday to express dismay at how the National Assembly conducted itself while approving the motion “without the media, without most members, without proper debate, in a record 30 minutes.”

The National Assembly, the MP insisted, “has just made Kenya a military State.”

“He doesn’t consult. He does not engage members and he is very aloof. He is to blame for the things that have happened in the House. The Finance Bill, 2024 could have been passed without the unnecessary drama but through dialogue and listening to Kenyans, who are our bosses,” Mr Mbadi lamented.

While Tuesday’s invasion of Parliament Buildings by anti-Finance Bill, 2024 protesters may have exacerbated Mr Wetang’ula’s woes, the writing had been on the wall since the early days of the 13th Parliament when the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party questioned his ruling that declared Kenya Kwanza the majority outfit.

The coalition stormed out of the House in protest and accused Mr Wetang’ula of dictatorship and ignoring facts on the number of MPs from both camps as had been provided by the Registrar of Political Parties.

In his ruling delivered in October 2022, Mr Wetang’ula declared Kenya Kwanza the majority party in the National Assembly with 179 members against Azimio’s 157.

Last week, during the second reading of the Finance Bill, 2024, three senators accused the Speaker of denying them an opportunity to follow the debate from the public gallery.

Senators Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Godfrey Osotsi (Vihiga), and Ledama Ole Kina (Narok) said that despite writing to the Clerk of the National Assembly for permission to be allowed into the public gallery, they were still barred from attending.

Addressing journalists at Parliament Buildings, the senators said they were told to watch the proceedings on television.

“Why was I elected to this House if I cannot follow the debate? How will I mobilise my ODM MPs to ensure they vote against this Finance Bill?” lamented Mr Sifuna, terming the move as a “cowardly act” by the Speaker.

Mr Osotsi accused the Speaker of being unfair and running the House “like a baraza in Kamukuywa market ( a trading centre in Mr Wetang'ula's Bungoma backyard).”

Mr Ole Kina accused the Speaker of turning the legislature into an appendage of the executive.

“He is drunk with power,” Mr Ole Kina said.