Economy

40 aspirants in contest to become House and Senate speakers

mps

The National Assembly has opened public participation for two bills which form part of the conditions attached to the Sh139 billion soft loan secured from the World Bank. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

More than 40 Kenyans have collected nomination papers to fill the vacant posts of Speaker of the two Houses of Parliament.

About 22 aspirants had collected nomination papers for the seat of the National Assembly Speaker while 17 had picked papers for the Senate seat.

The 349 members of the National Assembly and the 67 Senators convene for the first sitting of the 13th Parliament tomorrow and are expected to elect their respective Speakers after taking the oath of office.

The aspirants, including 24-year-old Gideon Kiplagat Cheruiyot from Bomet County, were last evening scrambling at Parliament to secure the mandatory 20 signatures of elected MPs to back their bid.

Among the main contenders are Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, former Speaker Kenneth Marende and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula.

Mr Musyoka and Mr Marende who are in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance picked forms for both the Senate and National Assembly Speaker posts.

Mr Wetangula of Kenya Kwanza is expected to resign to contest the vacant position of National Assembly Speaker.

At the Senate, former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar who lost the governor contest in the just-ended election will fight it out with former Kilifi governor Amason Kingi.

Others in the Senate Speaker race are former nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, Isaac Aluoch Oudo, Jared Oluoch, George Bush, Marara Rodgers and Beatrice Kathuri Kinyua, Dorothy Nyangáu, Josphat Lushoma Mutua, halake Didda, Joshua Kipkemoi Boit, Fredrick Thangeta, Meshack Momanyi Ombaka.

Senators-elect Thangwa Karungu (Kiambu) and Kathuri Murungi (Meru) will battle it out for Senate Deputy Speaker.

At the National Assembly, Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei and Robert Gichumu of Kenya Kwanza will fight with Azimio’s Otiende Amolo (Rarieda) and Farah Maalim (Daadab) for Deputy Speakers post.

One must marshal two-thirds or 233 of the 349 members of the National Assembly and 45 of the 67 Senators to be elected speaker. If none achieves the threshold, the one who receives a simple majority in the second-round wins.

Aspirants who are not backed by the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition headed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Kenya Kwanza led by President-elect William Ruto are having a rough time securing signatures.

“I am seeking a job but it is proving difficult because Azimio and Kenya Kwanza MPs are refusing to endorse our candidature because their parties are fronting nominees. They are not willing at all to sign for us,” Mr Cheruiyot, who had not secured a single signature, told the Business Daily last evening.

Most of the aspirants seeking the top House posts are individuals who unsuccessfully ran for parliamentary seats in the August 9 General Election.

“I am a real hustler. I was a street boy in Nakuru Town in 1990. I am currently doing a law degree and a PhD at the University of Nairobi. I contested the Gigil parliamentary seat and lost and I am now seeking a job of Assembly speaker,” William Wachira said as he waited for MPs to back his candidature in Parliament lobby.

Kevin Nyabute Omari, another youthful aspirant for the National Assembly speaker said he is following in the footsteps of President-elect Ruto in seeking a higher office.

The aspirants are required to return their papers before the close of the nomination window at 8.30 pm today for the National Assembly.

Those seeking the Senate Speaker post will have to collect the signatures and hand back their nomination papers by 2.30 pm.

The Standing Orders require one to secure the signatures of at least 20 MPs to back their candidacy.

They are also required to provide a letter from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) showing that the candidate is qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament and that the candidate is not such a member.

The aspirants are also required to furnish Parliament with their educational background and certificate and other relevant supporting documents in line with Article 99(2) of the Constitution.