Why Isaac Mwaura lost his Senate seat

Isaac Mwaura

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura when he appeared before the Jubilee Party disciplinary committee in February. His seat was officially declared vacant on May 11, 2021 by Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • At a rally in Msambweni constituency last December, Mr Mwaura caused a stir.
  • He not only gatecrashed the party, he also delivered a stinging rebuke of the President.

Had nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura stayed in the hotel at the coast where he was on Christmas holiday last December, perhaps he would not have lost his Senate seat yesterday.

The lawmaker had travelled with his family to Kwale, where he had hoped to take a break from the hustle of national politics and spend a quiet festive time with his family.

But it wasn’t to be.

A public rally on New Year’s Eve attended by Deputy President William Ruto and his Tangatanga brigade in Msambweni constituency was irresistible for the second-term lawmaker. His attendance of the event set off a chain of events that culminated with him losing his Senate seat.

At the rally, a homecoming party for newly elected Msambweni MP Feisal Bader, Mr Mwaura caused a stir. He not only gatecrashed the party, he also delivered a stinging rebuke of the President, going to the extent of attacking the first family, whom he blamed for the ills that bedevil the country.

Announcing his formal entry into the “Hustler Movement”, the senator attacked the Moi and Kenyatta families.

“We have had enough of two families that have ruled us for a total of 50 years and time has come for us to organise ourselves as young people so that we take over leadership,” Mr Mwaura charged.

Under the President’s skin

It was an attack that got under the President’s skin, prompting him to respond when he attended the funeral of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi’s mother 10 days later.

“If you are tired with some families ruling you, then get to the ballot so that Kenyans vote for you. Some of those making the claims, their vote and the position they hold is because of me, because they never got a single vote,” the President stated.

Jubilee Party then summoned the senator to disciplinary proceedings that ended with a recommendation by the National Management Committee (NMC) that he be expelled from the party. The party's national chair, Nelson Dzuya, said the senator had been disloyal after he pledged allegiance to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), a party associated with Dr Ruto.

Yesterday, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka informed members that he had received a copy of a special gazette issue dated May 10 communicating that the seat held by Mr Mwaura had become vacant. Mr Lusaka said he had only been alerted about the development during lunch break, after the first vote on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill.

However, the Speaker upheld the vote in which Mr Mwaura participated on the basis of Article 124(3) of the House rules, which provides that the proceedings of either House are not invalid just because of a vacancy in its membership or the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at, or to participate in, the proceedings of the House.

The announcement that Mr Mwaura had lost his seat outraged members allied to the DP.

Decision to remove Mwaura

Senators Aaron Cheruiyot, Kipchumba Murkomen, Susan Kihika, Irungu Kang’ata and Kithure Kindiki railed at the Speaker, accusing him of taking the decision to remove Mwaura despite a court order.

“I can confirm that I had not seen or disregarded any court order by the time I came here,” Mr Lusaka defended himself as he braved attacks from the lawmakers, who accused him of acting at the behest of powerful people outside the Senate.

It took the intervention of Leader of Minority James Orengo and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula to save the Speaker. Senator Orengo reminded the House that the role of the Speaker ended with the publication of the gazette notice.

“Your role has ended and there is nothing else you can do. You can’t recall your decision in this instance,” Mr Orengo said, while advising Mr Mwaura to seek redress in the High Court.

Mr Mwaura, who burst into the national limelight in 2013 when he was nominated to the National Assembly by Mr Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to represent people living with disabilities, is no stranger to controversy.

In 2017, he caused a stir when he abandoned ODM for Jubilee Party. He had visited Mr Odinga at his private offices where, according to his account, he sought blessings to defect. Mr Odinga denied knowledge of such a request, upon which Mr Mwaura threw choice epithets his way.

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