Opposition senators today stuck to their decision to sack Moses Wetang’ula as Senate minority leader despite appeals by opposition leader Raila Odinga that they reconsider it.
A meeting of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) summit comprising Mr Odinga, Mr Wetang’ula, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Musalia Mudavadi asked the senators to go on a retreat and report back on Mr Wetang’ula’s fate in two weeks.
Mr Wetang’ula, who is also the Bungoma senator and a Nasa co-principal by virtue of being the Ford-Kenya leader, was last week voted out by the senators and replaced by Siaya Senator James Orengo, who was also present in the charged closed-door meeting.
Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka are said to have pleaded with the senators to reverse their decision.
After the two-and-a-half-hour meeting chaired by Mr Odinga, Mr Wetang’ula’s job was still in abeyance.
“The senators have expressed themselves frankly on this issue and Mr Wetang’ula, who has been the leader, has also had an opportunity to respond to the issues,” Mr Odinga told journalists after the meeting.
“We have agreed that senators will go on a retreat within the next 14 days and discuss issues regarding the operation within the Senate, how to deal with issues which have been contentious, and report back to the Summit in two weeks.”
After the retreat, Mr Odinga said, the Senate group will communicate their decision regarding the seat of the minority leader to Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka.
It is unclear how the senators, who had in open defiance of the Summit’s position sat and elected Mr Orengo, will reverse the decision during a retreat where they will be the only participants.
During today’s meeting, sources said the senators accused Mr Wetang’ula of having a condescending attitude, telling him to his face that he had failed them and that he should accept their decision for the good of all.
Mr Wetang’ula is said to have apologised to his colleagues, pleading with them to forgive him if he had hurt them in the course of his duties as their leader.
Mr Musyoka told journalists that the coalition was intact despite the differences and dismissed claims that the Uhuru-Raila unity deal, or the dispute over the Senate seat, would split the alliance.
“At the level of principals, we are all together. We have all restated our unity in Nasa. And if we have taken that position, our MPs and members of county assemblies should stand guided,” Mr Musyoka said.
The legislators had demanded that Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka and Mr Wetang’ula explain why they skipped Mr Odinga’s “swearing-in” as the “people’s president” on January 30, accusing them of abandoning the opposition leader.
Mr Orengo is said to have accused Mr Musyoka of threatening the unity of the coalition through his wavering comments on Mr Odinga’s “oath”, adding that the Wiper leader had hurt the image of the coalition.
Mr Orengo was said to have been concerned that the leaders had refused to explain why they skipped the “oath” and why they had asked their allies to make disparaging remarks about Mr Odinga.
Nominated Senator Judy Pareno dismissed claims that the future of Nasa is under threat because of Mr Wetang’ula’s removal.
Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina told Mr Wetang’ula that his removal is final and that there is no need for further discussions on it after the ruling of the Speaker, who declared the removal valid and legal.
On the question of their whereabouts on January 30, the three principals refused to discuss the matter with the senators, telling them that the issue could only be handled by the Summit, which consists of the four leaders.