Supremacy war erupts as ODM kicks out Ole Kina from Senate post

In Summary
  • Ole Kina says he will move to court to stop the changes.
  • Murkomen says the matter should be left to the committee to resolve.
Nark Senator Ledama ole Kina .
Nark Senator Ledama ole Kina .
Image: FILE

The stage is set for a political duel between Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina and ODM, a battle that could ruin the relationship party leader Raila Odinga has enjoyed with the Maasai community. 

Senate Minority Leader James Orengo on Thursday wrote to Speaker Kenneth Lusaka giving notice to remove Ole Kina from two influential committees - the County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) and the Business Committee.

On Monday Ole Kina was elected to chair CPAIC and the move by the Siaya senator technically deposes the Narok senator.

Senate Standing Order 190 stipulates that a nominating party can de-whip a member from a select committee by writing to the chairman of the Senate Business Committee, in this case Lusaka, informing him of the decision.

“The chairperson of the Senate Business Committee shall, upon receipt of the notice, forthwith conveys the notice to the relevant committee and such notice shall take effect upon receipt by the chairperson or the vice chairperson if the discharge relates to the chairperson,” the Standing Order states.

When such a position becomes vacant, it shall be filled within 14 days.

Ole Kina was elected last week as the chairman but Orengo disputed his victory, saying he went against an earlier gentleman’s agreement that the Narok senator will not offer his candidature.

Ole Kina defeated his Kisii counterpart Sam Ongeri after garnering five votes against four.

Ongeri was ODM’s preferred candidate but it is understood that Ole Kina cut a deal with Jubilee Party senators who voted for him.

Jubilee Party senators in the newly formed committee are Mithika Linturi (Meru), Kamani Wamatangi (Kiambu), Hargura Godana (Marasabit) and Millicent Omanga (nominated).

Immediately after the results declaring Ole Kina as the new chairman were announced, Orengo issued a statement disputing the outcome.

He said ODM was not satisfied with the results and was intending to withdraw its members from the committee in protest.

“I express and register dissatisfaction with the conduct of the outcome of the election of the leadership of CPAIC which were purportedly done today,” Orengo wrote to Lusaka on Monday afternoon.

On Wednesday, Ole Kina posted on his Twitter account that he had reached out to Orengo and resolved the matter.

He said his support for ODM, Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta was “solid and unshaken”.

After learning of the change on Thursday, the vocal senator warned that the days to come would be “nasty”.

Ole Kina told the Star on phone that he will be proceeding to court to challenge his removal from the committee.

“I am prepared for this war. I will challenge that decision in court. To chair or to be a member of a committee is not a privilege but a right,” he said. 

He claimed that the reason he was being removed from the committee was because “there were plans by the party to plant certain individuals to be collecting money on their behalf.”

“I will be firm in calling for accountability from all those answerable to the Senate. If they had some people they wanted in the committee, it is unfortunate,” he said.

CPAIC is a powerful committee responsible for examination of accounts of all the 47 county governments.

Orengo has also written to the Speaker indicating that Busia senator Amos Wako is working on amendments to the Standing Orders, which will see the minority party have majority members in CPAIC. 

But in a rejoinder, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen took a different direction saying they will be proposing changes to the Standing Order 220 to ensure that any senator can have a chance to serve as chair of the committee notwithstanding the political side they belong to.

Murkomen in his letter to the Speaker argued that reserving the position for a specific political party presupposes there is a correlation between parliamentary party strength and the formation and running of the county governments

“We opine that every senator has equal responsibility to oversight their respective counties notwithstanding the political party the governor represented. If electing a governor and a senator in one county from opposite political parties improves oversight, then only Narok, Tana River and Trans Nzoia currently enjoy this rare fete,” he said.

Edited by Henry Makori