HOUSECLEANING

Jubilee horse-trading precedes second purge of Ruto allies in Parliament

Aaron Cheruiyot, Aisha Jumwa and Chris Wamalwa targeted as disloyal to Jubilee

In Summary

• DP allies Aaron Cheruiyot and Aisha Jumwa targeted for removal from PSC.

• Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa also said to be on the chopping block. 

DP William Ruto hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence, Nairobi. in better days.
TRIO: DP William Ruto hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence, Nairobi. in better days.
Image: FILE

Round two of the purge targeting Deputy President William Ruto’s foot soldiers is looming in Parliament only days after his close allies were removed from plum positions in the Senate.

It has emerged that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s axe, sharpened by his camaraderie with ODM leader Raila Odinga, is set to fall on Ruto’s men on the powerful Parliamentary Service Commission.

Uhuru, who is the Jubilee Party leader, is targeting Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, a PSC commissioner.

 

Cheruiyot is a Ruto confidant and one of the seven senators who defied the party position to vote out Kithure Kindiki as Senate Deputy Speaker last Friday.

Kindiki's removal came a week after Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru) were removed as Majority leader and Majority Chief Whip, respectively.

Two Jubilee senators familiar with the happenings in the ruling party confided to the Star that plans are afoot to remove the vocal Kericho senator from the PSC.

“He will be removed, that is the plan. It is a process to remove a commissioner but that is what has been decided. He will go,” a senator confided.

However, Senate Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata said the party is not keen to kick out Cheruiyot.  

“We don’t intend to recall our PSC commissioner,” Kang’ata said.

The Star has learnt, however, the party made the decision and is already working on removal. Raila's ODM is also planning to revive the removal of Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa.

 

Last year, ODM unsuccessfully attempted to remove the vocal legislator from the lucrative position after she shifted allegiance to the DP and became a strong proponent of Ruto's 2022 presidential bid.

“We are thinking of how best to do it. Removing a commissioner is not the same procedure as removing people from committees," ODM national chairman John Mbadi said.

The National Assembly Minority leader added, “We are likely to work with Jubilee very closely in ensuring that we bring changes to any organ [of Parliament] including the PSC.”

Mbadi reiterated that the party has ‘exploiting all’ options to make sure only members loyal to the outfit occupy plum positions in Parliament.

Article 127 of the Constitution provides guidelines for appointing members of the PSC but does not provide for the removal of a member who is an MP.

The Nasa coalition, in which ODM is the majority shareholder, is also planning to remove Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa for being close to the DP, as the Deputy Minority Chief Whip.

Already, the opposition coalition has planned a Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting to kick out the Ford Kenya MP.

“There is a lot of pressure among our members. There are people who are not comfortable with Wamalwa. That is a fact. A number of them have said that Wamalwa’s allegiance is questionable,” Mbadi said.

The ODM chairman revealed that Nasa members from Western region have already settled on Wamalwa’s replacement. His successor will be endorsed in the forthcoming PG meeting.

Jubilee and Nasa leadership in the two houses of Parliament on Tuesday are expected to announce changes to the parliamentary committees, with those perceived disloyal to the parties set to face the axe.

Mbadi and National Assembly Minority Chief Whip Junet Mohamed are meeting on Tuesday to finalise the list.

“On Tuesday, the whip and I are meeting in the morning to review the committees. We are looking at loyalty and commitment to the party,” Mbadi disclosed.

In the Senate, Kang’ata is expected to announce changes to the House committees. Ruto’s allies are set to be the biggest casualties.

“We shall meet soon to unveil the changes, hopefully by Tuesday. We shall not undertake ethnic profiling, hence, some of those that voted against [the motion to remove Kindiki] may survive. But some will definitely face sanctions,” Kang’ata said.

(Edited by V. Graham)