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February 22, 2018

Block Raila's picks for PSC, Uhuru orders his lawmakers

Deputy President William Ruto addresses Jubilee leaders during the party's first Parliamentary Group meeting of the year which was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.Photo PSCU
Deputy President William Ruto addresses Jubilee leaders during the party's first Parliamentary Group meeting of the year which was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.Photo PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday instructed Jubilee MPs to reject two of Raila Odinga’s preferred nominees to the powerful PSC signaling his determination to neutralise the NASA chief.

At a party parliamentary group meeting held at State House Nairobi, Uhuru categorically asked his lieutenants to block the nomination of Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and embattled Homa Bay Women Representative Gladys Wanga.

MPs are expected to vote by secret ballot today.

“The president was categorical that we must do everything to ensure they do not make it,” said a Jubilee MP who attended yesterday’s meeting but who sought anonymity.

“It is serious, the president is unhappy with the two who have been in the forefront throwing tantrums at him,” added the MP from central Kenya.

Another MP from Rift Valley told the Star the President and Deputy President William Ruto insisted that Wanga and Khaniri should be rejected.

“At least the DP also stressed the same point when he addressed us with a clear message that we reject them on the basis they are disrespectful,” said the youthful lawmaker who attended the party meeting that was not open to the media.

Lamu East MP Sharif Athman said the PG focused on rallying troops together to support the Jubilee agenda through legislation and budgetary allocation.

“It was a normal discussion where we agreed to support government policies and work together as a family,” he told the Star in an interview on the phone.

Wanga, a vocal and fiery opposition lawmaker was nominated by Raila’s ODM party to serve for the second term running as a commissioner at the PSC.

However, her combative politics as well as her vicious attacks on Uhuru’s administration could have come back to haunt her nomination to the influential position.

ODM had also nominated Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa sparking a revolt from Wiper party which argued that Raila’s party was entitled to one slot. Wiper wants Borabu MP Ben Momanyi given Wanga’s slot.

The Jubilee objection notwithstanding, Wanga has also received resistance from within the ODM party. A section of Orange MPs argued that the slot was initially earmarked for Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi but Wanga bulldozed her way.

Khaniri was nominated by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi but his run-ins with the state and especially his close relationship with Raila in the ongoing anti-Jubilee push could be the reason Jubilee wants to block his nomination.

Under the Standing Orders, only parliamentary parties-political parties with at least five MPs-are given slots at the PSC which is the statutory body which employs lawmakers.

Under this Jubilee, ODM, ANC and Wiper qualify for slots based on their strength in the House. Virtually controlling the majority in both House, Jubilee was allocated four slots while NASA was given three slots. NASA affiliates argue each party was entitled to at least one slot.

Yesterday Uhuru and Ruto instructed Jubilee MPs to, however, vote for all the Jubilee nominees to PSC as the list was submitted to Parliament.

Jubilee nominated MPs Adan Keynan[Eldas], MP Naomi Shabaan[Taveta], Senators Aaron Cheruiyot[Kericho] and Beth Mugo nominated. Both Keynan and Mugo served in the same positions in the 11th Parliament

A statement by PSCU from State House did not mention the president’s order to Jubilee MPs but said the lawmakers agreed to work closely to support the Jubilee agenda through legislation and approval of the budget provisions.

 “It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we deliver on the pledges we made to Kenyans in line with our party manifesto,” the President the MPs during the first PG for this year.

Ruto asked members to work towards ensuring that Jubilee remains a vibrant party that unites the country.

“We formed Jubilee as a party of all regions that will remove the politics that breeds division, hatred and ethnicity. We will continue to share with you the vision that makes Jubilee a party that is focused on bringing together all Kenyans,” he said.

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