Why the 13th Parliament is unique

MPs oath

MPs take oath of office at the National Assembly on Thursday.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Raila Odinga’s Azimio will be the majority coalition in the National Assembly as per the notification from the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Anne Nderitu, despite its three affiliated parties having shifted allegiance to President-elect William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza alliance.

This shows that the 13th parliament will be a unique House as the majority coalition will not produce the Leader of Majority and Majority Whip and has not formed the government.

This is unlike the 11th and 12th parliaments that had Jubilee, the majority party in the Senate and the National Assembly, being the party forming the government.

Legally in Azimio coalition

The notification from the ORPP to the acting Clerk of the National Assembly Serah Kioko shows that Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) of Alfred Mutua, UDM of Mandera Senator Ali Roba, Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) of Ugenya MP David Ochieng and Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) are part of 26 parties legally in Azimio coalition.

The details are as per the April 21 coalition agreement that was signed by the parties including Mr Odinga’s ODM, President Kenyatta’s Jubilee party, Wiper of Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc-Kenya of Ms Martha Karua and Narc of Ms Charity Ngilu.

The document from the ORPP’s office comes despite the UDM, MDG and PAA having signed post-election coalition agreements with Kenya Kwanza after filing objections regarding their membership in the Azimio coalition.

This means that at 185 MPs, which includes five from UDM, three from PAA, two from MCC and one from MDG, Azimio boasts of the majority in the 349-member National Assembly compared to Kenya Kwanza’s 152 MPs.

During the August elections, 12 MPs were elected as independents.

“Pursuant to the Political Parties Act as read with Regulation 21 of the Political Parties (Registration) Regulation 2019 and in line with your request, the constituent political parties and effective dates are as listed,” the letter dated September 7, signed by Ms Nderitu, reads.

The letter is also copied to the immediate former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

Part ways with Azimio

She lists Nopeu which has one MP, as the party that is not a member of any coalition even as she indicates that MDG, UDM and PAA have filed petitions at the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) seeking to part ways with Azimio.

The Kenya Kwanza coalition was effective June 3 and includes UDA of President-elect William Ruto, ANC of Musalia Mudavadi, Ford-Kenya of Moses Wetang’ula and Democratic Party of Kenya of Justin Muturi among others.

File for withdrawal

But even as the parties seek to get out of Azimio, Article 22 of the Azimio political party coalition agreement states that no party may withdraw from the coalition six months before the August 9 General Election or within three months after the date of the General Election. This means that, legally, they have less than 60 days to file for withdrawal from Azimio.

In the Senate, Kenya Kwanza with 24 senators, has a clear majority with or without the parties that have agreements with Azimio. Azimio has 22 senators that include two from UDM.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah has been mentioned as the probable leader of his Kenya Kwanza coalition in the House with Saku MP Dido Ali Raso as his possible deputy although ANC is also said to be pushing for Vihiga MP Ernest Ogesi as Ichung’wah’s deputy.

The Whip position is likely to go to the Kisii or Coast with South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro and his Kilifi North colleague battling for the position.

On the Azimio side, the names of nominated MP John Mbadi and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi have been mentioned as the possible coalition leadership in the House.