NASA senators have stayed away from committee elections following their Jubilee colleagues’ prolonged move to lock them out of leadership.
The disgruntled members skipped the election of the chairs and vice chairpersons of five committees, in protest at what they termed State House interference.
The Senate’s 16 committees held elections for 32 chairs and vice chairpersons from Tuesday to Thursday. NASA only won the Public Accounts Committee chair slot, constitutionally reserved for the Opposition. During the elections, some Jubilee members such as Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and his Meru counterpart Mithika Linturi were picked to lead two committees. Sakaja was elected the chair of the Labour committee and vice chair of the National Security and Foreign Relations.
Linturi was elected vice chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and the Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights. Opposition senators skipped the Justice and Legal Affairs committee polls, in which Nandi Senator Samson Cherarkey was elected unopposed as chairman.
Cherarkey defended Jubilee’s move to lock out NASA members from either of the two top positions, saying those with the numbers had to carry the day.
‘this is democracy’
“This is democracy. You cannot win an election and form the government then reward the competitor. We have talked to NASA members and asked them to understand so we can work together in discharging our oversight duties.”Cherarkey, however, disclosed that Jubilee members adhered to directives by their principals – President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto’s – to elect the nominees they proposed.
Linturi assured that the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee will ensure proper laws, especially ones on elections, are put in place to ensure the process is free, fair and credible and that Kenyans’ expectations are met.“We will legislate laws on constitutionalism, justice and elections issues to ensure required systems are put in place on time in future. We expect political players to embrace the election laws we will come up with,” he said.
The Garissa Senator was elected the National Security and Foreign Relations Committee chairman, while his Laikipia counterpart John Kinyua will chair the Committee on Devolved Governments and Intergovernmental Relations.