• Crucial committees include Justice and Legal Affairs, Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee, and Delegated Legislation Commission.
• They will play a key role in ensuring the passage of BBI proposals, especially those which will not require a plebiscite.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s focus has shifted to a number of crucial House committees which will play a central role in the passage of BBI recommendations.
Both ODM and the ruling party Jubilee have mapped out three reform-relevant committees and have agreed to have only loyal lieutenants to enable smooth sailing of some of the recommendations that will not require a referendum.
The three committees are Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC), Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) and Delegated Legislation Commission of both Houses of Parliament.
The committees by dint of their mandate will play a key role in ensuring the passage of BBI proposals, especially those which will not require a plebiscite.
According to the game plan, the committees will be purely made up of loyalists who will not erect roadblocks in the path of the reforms.
On Tuesday, National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi confirmed that there were plans to not only reconstitute the three reform-relevant committees but the others as well.
“We have agreed we are reconstituting committees between us and Jubilee. It has also been two years since we constituted the committees,” Mbadi said on phone.
“We are going to reconstitute our committees, change our members depending on their capacities and abilities bearing in mind Parliament is going to be very busy with the implementation of the BBI report.”
According to the Suba South legislator who is the ODM national chairman, the changes will be done by the majority and minority sides in anticipation of the BBI report.
“We are expecting to have the report anytime from now; it needs not wait for coronavirus [to end]. Once that report is out we are going to implement those provisions in the BBI that can be done without a referendum,” Mbadi said.
“There are a lot of changes that will be made through Parliament and those we will do immediately. There are some committees like the JLAC where we need very strong members who will dedicate their time.”
In the National Assembly, Baringo North MP William Cheptumo chairs JLAC, Ndargwa’s Jeremiah Kioni chairs CIOC while Delegated legislation is led by Gladys Shollei (Uasin Gishu).
Both Kioni and Shollei are perceived to be DP William Ruto’s allies while Cheptumo has been playing his cards close to his chest, remaining almost neutral in the Jubilee factional wars.
In the Senate, JLAC is chaired by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and deputised by Meru’s Mithika Linturi while Samuel Poghisio - now Majority Leader – used to chair the Delegated Legislation Committee.
Cherargei was initially a staunch Ruto defender but he last week made a surprise move when he attended the State House Senate PG meeting snubbed by Ruto allies.
Linturi, on the other hand, is pro-Ruto and his inclination will cost him membership in the coveted committee.
Mbadi also noted the rearrangements will extend to other committees of the bicameral house.
“We are not going to be vindictive; we are just going to look at people’s strength.”
Edited by R.Wamochie