Wrangles resurfaced again within NASA yesterday after Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC blocked Raila Odinga’s ODM party from removing its members from parliamentary committees.
Last week, Minority Whip Junet Mohamed wrote to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi removing 16 MPs from different committees. The changes were rejected by mainly ANC which accused ODM of acting in a dictatorial manner.
Yesterday morning, ANC sought and obtained orders from the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal stopping the changes which were lined up for debate and approval by MPs.
The tribunal’s Deputy Registrar Kyalo Mbobu directed the matter to be heard between the parties on Friday next week.
Despite the order, Junet tabled the proposed changes in the House in the evening. The move was defended by Minority leader John Mbadi who said due process had been followed in arriving at the changes.
ANC parliamentary group chairman Ayub Savula (Lugari) protested, saying the changes were unprocedural. He said Standing Orders require that a member be given a hearing before he is removed from a committee and the reasons communicated to the Speaker.
“The proposal will not stand. We have already filed a case in court and obtained orders. Those members are still validly in their committee,” Savula said.
But Mbadi differed. “The motion has gone through the processes and been approved procedurally. What ANC MPs are talking about is discharge of members from a committee. We were just reorganizing the committees and none of those members have been left without a committee,” he said.
He was supported by Majority leader Aden Duale (Jubilee) who said the changes were made to accommodate some members who did not belong to any committee. He wondered why some members wanted to remain in the Public Investments Committee.
“A lifestyle audit should be done on members who insist on remaining in certain committees,” Duale said.
“Due process was followed while coming up with this motion which is meant to harmonise the committees. Edith Nyenze (Kitui West), Asha Hussein (Mombasa) and Charles Kamuren (Baringo South) did not have a committee,” Duale said.
He said the political parties’ tribunal had written to instruct him not to change the membership of the committees, which he said was exceeding its powers.
“I warn the PPDT against trying to run the legislature. The purported ANC SG Barrack Muluka should know that in the legislature there are parliamentary political parties. We will deal with the PPDT by amending the Political Parties’ Act,” Duale added.
In the proposed changes, ANC’s Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale) and Tindi Mwale (Butere) had been removed from the crucial Public Accounts and Public Investments committees to Delegated Legislation and Budget and Appropriation respectively.
Alfred Sambu (Webuye East) had been moved from Finance and National Planning to the Committee on the Implementation of the Constitution. He replaced Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka) who was proposed to join PAC.
Christopher Omulele (Luanda) and Edith Nyenze (Kitui West) were appointed to the Finance and National Planning committee replacing Sambu and David Mboni (Kitui Rural)
Mboni was appointed to the Constitution implementation committee.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma was moved to the Committee on Administration and National Security replacing Justus Mugalu Kizito (Shinyalu) who was moved to alongside to PIC together with Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga.
Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central) was also removed from PIC to Delegated Legislation Committee in place of Charles Gimose (Hamisi) and Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita).
Awendo MP Walter Owino was appoined to the Members’ Service and Facilities committee taking over from Catherine Wambilianga (Bungoma Woman MP).
The list also includes James Mukwe (Kabuchai) who was appointed to the National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity committee in place of Mohammed Ali (Turkana East).
Loima MP Jeremiah Ekaimais was moved to the Trade committee replacing Timothy Wanyonyi (Westlands) who is to replace Mukwe in the NG-CDF committee.
NASA also donated its position in the Agriculture and Livestock committee to Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) of the Kenya National Congress. His place in the Defense and Foreign Affairs committee was to be filled by Asha Hussein (Mombasa MP).
The changes evoke memories of the tussles over the committees earlier in the year. It is the second time Bunyasi is being drawn into a row over a committee. In December, he lost the chairmanship of PAC to Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi (ODM) by 15 votes to three. ANC complained it has been shortchanged.
Similarly, Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper fought tooth and nail for a slot on the Parliamentary Service Commission. It took the support of the Jubilee side for Borabu MP Ben Momanyi (Wiper) to eventually take the place of ODM nominee, Gladys Wanga.
Wiper’s Mulyungi (Mwingi Central) and Bunyasi had lost the race for the PIC chair to ODM’s Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita).
ODM took up the majority of minority lots on House committees by virtue of its numerical strength in the alliance.
But the wrangles were not limited to the Opposition. In December, a bitter row erupted in the Jubilee Party after some MPS defied the party leadership to contest and win positions in four House committees.
Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) and Alex Kosgey (Emgwen) sought court intervention after they were de-whipped.
But the party still went ahead to remove them from the committees through choreographed votes of no confidence after a meeting of the Parliamentary Group meeting at State House called by President Uhuru Kenyatta.