How Ruto men outwitted Uhuru, Raila in Senate election

Raila on Sunday met four senators from his party and asked them to elect Ongeri

In Summary

•Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina was on Monday elected as chair of Senate County Public Accounts and Investments, sparking protests from Minority leader James Orengo.

•He trounced his Kisii counterpart Sam Ongeri to win the coveted seat after garnering five votes against four.

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina
WINNER: Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina
Image: FILE

Details have emerged of how Deputy President William Ruto’s allies in the Senate schemed to defeat ODM’s choice for chairman of a powerful oversight committee.

Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina was on Monday elected chair of the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC), sparking a protest from Minority Leader James Orengo.

Ole Kina trounced his Kisii counterpart Sam Ongeri to win the seat after garnering five votes against four.

Ongeri was ODM’s preferred candidate for the powerful seat.

Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi won the deputy chair position after beating Murang'a Senator and Deputy Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata, who is a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

However, Ole Kina’s win was shortly contested by Orengo who said ODM was dissatisfied with the conduct and the outcome of the polls.

“I express and register dissatisfaction with the conduct and the outcome of the election of the leadership of the County Public Accounts and Investments Committee which were purportedly done today,” Orengo wrote to Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.

“We intend to withdraw our membership from the said committee until an appropriate resolution can be made.”

Sources intimated that Ongeri was the ODM’s choice with Kang’ata as his deputy.

The Star established that ODM leader Raila Odinga on Sunday held a meeting with the four members of his party in the committee and asked them to elect Ongeri.

In attendance were Orengo, National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed, protagonists Ongeri and Ole Kina and senators Ochillo Ayacko (Migori) and Johnes Mwaruma (Taita Taveta).

Ayacko, who had also declared interest in the seat and was deemed more popular, was prevailed upon to drop his ambition in support of Ongeri.

Although Ayacko reluctantly relinquished his candidature his colleague, Ole Kina remained adamant.

The Narok senator reached out to his Jubilee colleagues who included senators Mithika Linturi (Meru), Hargura Godana (Marsabit), Wamatangi Kimani (Kiambu) and Millicent Omanga (nominated).

All the five but one are close Ruto allies. They were seconded by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Majority Chief whip Susan Kihika. The two are also DP Ruto’s confidants.

Murkomen was among the first leaders to congratulate Ole Kina on his election.

"Congrats to my friends @ledamalekina & @KWamatangi on your election as chair & vice-chair of Senate’s County Public Accounts Committee. You have my support & the support of your colleagues in ensuring that we hold our counties [to account]," Murkomen posted on Twitter.

To which Ole Kina responded, "Thank you Leader. We are equal to the task and we will serve Kenyans diligently. I assure you our work will change the future of Kenya!"

According to the deal Ole Kina struck with the DP allies,  they were to vote him as chair because the seat is the preserve of the Minority and he, in turn, would vote for Kiambu Senator as his deputy, a word they kept and won.

Ole Kina got four votes from Jubilee and his while the remaining three ODM members and Kang'ata voted Ongeri.

A Jubilee member of the committee told the Star that Linturi warned them against voting for Kang'ata as vice chairman. 

Parliamentary procedure requires that an individual gunning for a position should be proposed and seconded.

Ole Kina was proposed by senators Omanga and Wamatangi while Ongeri was proposed by Ochillo and seconded by Mwaruma.

On Tuesday, Omanga and Linturi accused Raila of interfering with the independence of the Parliament, claiming that he was fielding a ‘weak’ person for the seat to protect corrupt governors.

“Ledama is an ODM senator. Wamatangi is vice chair and is not a Ruto guy. They wanted someone they can use to sanitise corruption,” she said.

Linturi said, “Parliament has been captured by the Executive and that is what Raila is doing to dictate to us who should be the chair. Our preference was Ochillo but when he stepped down after intimidation, we felt that Ledama is more vibrant.”

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said he received Orengo’s protest letter but added that the matter was a party affair that he did not have control over.

Minority Chief Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jr said Ledama had not been de-whipped from the committee.

“He has not been removed. It has not been tabled before the Senate Business Committee or before us as the Minority leadership,” he said.


Edited by Henry Makori