• Kindiki was removed from the plum seat on Friday after 54 senators voted in favour of an ouster motion sponsored by Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata.
• According to the Standing Orders, a candidate wins the seat of the speaker or deputy speaker if he gets two-thirds of the votes.
Lobbying for the replacement of Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki has started in earnest only a day after senators voted overwhelmingly to remove him.
Kindiki was removed from the plum seat on Friday after 54 senators voted in favour of an ouster motion sponsored by Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata.
Only seven lawmakers opposed his removal.
Kang’ata said Kindiki was ousted for snubbing a meeting called by President Uhuru Kenyatta a fortnight ago to change the leadership of the House.
The Star has learnt that the race to replace the Tharaka Nithi senator has started with the handshake team weighing options. The team comprises Jubilee and NASA senators allied to President Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, whose numbers sealed Kindiki’s fate.
House Standing Orders does not specify the time-frame for the election of a deputy speaker if the seat falls vacant before the expiry of the term of Parliament.
Standing order 13 (3) reads, “If the office of Deputy Speaker falls vacant at any time before the end of the term of Parliament, the Senate shall, as soon as practicable, elect a Senator to that office.”
The Star has established that Jubilee is fronting Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar for the coveted seat – the second in command in the hierarchy of leadership of the Senate.
Kamar sits in the speaker’s panel and is one of the most experienced legislators in the House.
Since she hails from DP William Ruto’s backyard, the party is said to be seriously considering her to diffuse the growing concerns in Ruto’s home turf that the President was targeting his (DP’s) allies in his purge.
The party has also approached Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja but the youthful lawmaker declined the offer.
On Saturday, Kang’ata told the Star that consultations were ongoing to get a suitable person that can fit in Kindiki’s shoes.
NASA, on the other hand, is said to be keen to leverage the handshake between the President and Raila to field a candidate for the seat.
Kilifi Senator Steward Madzayo, an experienced retired judge, and his nominated colleague Judith Pareno, a member of the speaker’s panel, are said to be on NASA’s cards in case Jubilee fails to get a suitable person.
Pareno and Kamar sit in the speaker's panel alongside Senators Rose Nyamunga (nominated), Steve Lelegwe (Samburu) and the deputy speaker.
Minority Chief Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jr said the coalition was yet to meet and agree on a candidate but added that they were keen to avoid competition with Jubilee.
“It is something that will be agreed upon because the ideal situation would be that Jubilee should have their position. But if they don’t have a candidate, we will field a person for that position. What we will avoid is outright competition,” he said.
Mutula confirmed that Pareno and Madzayo’s names have been floated but not officially agreed on.
“But as NASA we have not discussed the matter. It is not something that we have an agenda. Ideally, we just need one candidate that we can all vote for at once,” he explained.
According to the Standing Orders, a candidate wins the seat of the speaker or deputy speaker if he gets two-thirds of the votes.
Should one fail to marshal the requisite number of votes in the first round of the voting, candidates with the first and second-highest number of votes will contest in the second round of voting. Here, the candidate who gets the majority of the votes will be declared the winner.
Going by the Friday’s vote, a candidate backed by the handshake team will easily sail through in the first round of voting.
Edited by R.Wamochie