Jubilee moves to take control of key House teams

 Leader of Majority Aden Duale (left)  in the National Assembly with his deputy Naomi Shaban (centre) and Senate Majority Leader Kindiki Kithure before opening of the 11th Parliament on Monday. FILE
Leader of Majority Aden Duale (left) in the National Assembly with his deputy Naomi Shaban (centre) and Senate Majority Leader Kindiki Kithure before opening of the 11th Parliament on Monday. FILE 

The Jubilee Coalition Wednesday tightened grip on parliamentary business, taking most slots on the powerful House Business Committee (HBC), the body that sets the weekly, monthly and annual agenda.

The coalition also took most positions on the 21-member Committee on Selection, which is charged with placing the 349 members to serve on the 28 standing and departmental committees.

It has signed coalition pacts with smaller parties, deposited copies with the Registrar of Political Parties, bringing its total membership to 212. But it is still short of the two-thirds majority required to push for constitutional amendments.

Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord), the official opposition party in the House, has 133 members.

Leader of Majority Party Aden Duale, who moved two motions to adopt the nominees to the two committees, said the four independent members should freely use their conscience to support, reject or vote for business in the House.

The ruling coalition and its affiliates captured 16 seats in the HBC against Cord’s 14. Independents got one slot in line with provisions of section 117 of the Standing Orders.

The 32-member committee will be chaired by House Speaker Justin Muturi and comprise Mr Duale and the acting Leader of Minority Party Francis Nyenze.

Others in the HBC, which meets every Tuesday to plan weekly sessions, includes Jamleck Kamau, William Cheptumo, Katoo ole Metito (Majority Chief Whip), Mohamed Maalim, Naomi Shaban, Cecilia Ng’etich, Priscilla Nyokabi, Rachel Shebesh, Victor Munyaka, Rachael Nyamai, Peter Shehe, David Were, Zebedeo Opore, Zachayo Cheruiyot, and Joyce Emanikor.

John Serut will take the independent candidate seat at the HBC while MPs Mithika Linturi, Johnson Sakaja, Gideon Mung’aro (Minority Whip), Jokoyo Midiwo, Adan Keynan, Thomas Mwadeghu, Wafula Wamunyinyi, Paul Otuoma, Makili Mulu, Mwashetani Abdalla, Ghati Dennitah, Jessica Mbalu and Gladys Nyasuna will be members.

In the Selection Committee, whose composition generated a heated debate, Mr Duale will be the chairperson deputised by Mr Nyenze.

Members are MPs Benjamin Langat, Mary Emase, Maina Kamanda, Alex Muiru, Barre Shill, Robi Mathias, Tiyah Galgalo, Mr Metito, Alice Ng’ang’a, Abdirahaman Dawood, Benjamin Washiali and Ken Obura.

Others are Gideon Mung’aro, Chris Wamalwa, Racheal Ameso, Joyce Wanjala, Mohammed Elmi, Alice Wahome and Ghati Dennitah.

Some women MPs, supported by their male colleagues opposed the list of nominees to both committees on grounds that it failed to reflect the one-third gender rule.

Magarini MP Harrison Kombe kicked off the debate while contributing to the motion moved by Mr Duale. He said the 32-member HBC fell short one-third gender rule.

Nominated MP Amina Abdalla and Ms Shebesh said although the High Court had ruled that the gender threshold should be attained progressively by 2015, the composition of key House teams must be in line with the law.

Mr Metito and Mr Midiwo, the Minority Chief Whip, pleaded with members to approve the names.

“The list is balanced. Out of the 32 members 29 are ordinary members out of which 10 are women and that is a third of the committee. The list reflects diversity in that 11 of the 29 are first term MPs,” said Mr Metito.

Rangwe MP Dalmas Otieno said: “We have three principles that we must start practising in committee listing. These are transparency, regional balance and the gender rule.”