Four Jubilee rebel MPs have a date with destiny today as their committees meet to discuss a vote of no confidence against them that will see them lose their leadership positions should majority of the members endorse their removal.
Last week, National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai notified the MPs of a petition seeking their removal and fixed Tuesday from 10am as the date the affected committees will discuss the ouster motions in four different locations within Parliament.
The four MPs – Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben), James Gakuya (Embakasi North) and Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) – face the charges of finding their way to committee leadership positions against the wishes of their party leadership.
Mr Keter defeated Bura MP Ali Wario to be chairman of Labour and Social Welfare committee, Mr Tiren beat Mandera South MP Adan Haji Ali in the Agriculture committee while Mr Gakuya was elected chairman of the Parliamentary Broadcasting and Library committee.
Mr Bowen was elected vice chairman of Environment and Natural Resources committee against Jubilee’schoice of Ijara MP Sophia Abdi.
Jubilee is also planning to have Bungoma woman Representative Catherine Wambilianga of Ford Kenya, who defeated Bomet Woman Representative Joyce Korir, removed as Mr Keter’s deputy.
However, even as the vote of no confidence motions get underway Tuesday, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) is determined to throw the spanner in the works against the removal of the five MPs.
Minority Whip Junet Mohamed Monday directed Nasa members to boycott the planned ouster, a day after Leader of Minority John Mbadi urged the members to attend and “make their voice known against undermining the institution of parliament”.
Mr Mohamed, who said he held a meeting with Mr Mbadi before the decision was made, told the MPs in the in the affected committees not to be part of “an illegal process”.
“You are hereby directed not to participate in the said meetings, which have been called for the sole purpose of removing the leadership of those committees,” the Suna East MP said in the memo copied to Mr Mbadi.
“You have already exercised your mandate under Standing Order 179 of the National Assembly in electing the committees’ leadership. Kindly be advised accordingly,” he said.
The affected committees, Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Labour and Social Welfare have 19 members while Parliamentary Broadcasting Services has 23 members.
A quorum of five members is mandatory before a committee meeting starts.
Although Nasa has seven members in the 19-member committees compared to Jubilee’s 12 and 9 members in the Parliamentary Broadcasting Services, the move to direct its members against attending will be trying to scuttle the plot to remove the rebel MPs by denying it the mandatory majority vote.
Standing Order 193 (1) provides that any decision to remove a committee chairperson or vice-chairperson must be supported by at least majority of the committee membership, which is 50 percent plus one or 10 members in 19-member committees and 12 in the 23-member committees.
With seven of the Nasa MPs already out and considering that some of the affected committee members are in Mombasa for their induction, it could be a tall order for Jubilee.
Members of oversight committees of Public Accounts, Public Investments and Special Funds and departmental committees – Health and Defence and Foreign Relations, are currently undergoing their induction.
By press time, leader of majority in the National Assembly Mr Aden Duale and his majority whip colleague Mr Benjamin Washiali were working hard to have members who are in Mombasa airlifted to Nairobi for the voting.