The political differences between Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga have once again spilled onto the floor of the Senate, threatening the leadership of two committees.
At the centre of the battle between the two protagonists is the chairmanship of the County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) and the Delegated Legislation.
The differences have already seen Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina (ODM) dewhipped from the CPAIC.
Mr Kina contested and won the election on Monday against his party’s preferred candidate Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri.
He had already chaired the CPAIC’s first meeting when Senate minority leader James Orengo (ODM) gave a notice indicating the party’s wish to dewhip him from the CPAIC and the Senate Business Committee (SBC).
“I hereby give a notice of the discharge and removal of Senator Ledama Ole Kina from the CPAIC and SBC,” Mr Orengo said in the notice to Speaker Kenneth Lusaka dated May 7.
It was not clear though, why Mr Kina was also dewhipped from the SBC.
A defiant Mr Kina promised to fight the removal but it was not clear how and if he would turn to court.
“Today I chaired my second meeting as the duly elected chair of [CPAIC]. The letter by James Orengo has no basis and must be treated with contempt,” Mr Kina said.
He continued; “Because this committee is very powerful they want a pushover, not me.”
With the Senate resolving to sit once every Tuesday due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the earliest opportunity the House may have a take on the matter is May 12.
It is understood that Mr Kina is being punished for allowing committee members affiliated to DP Ruto to propose his name and vote for him against Prof Ongeri, ODM’s candidate.
Mr Kina floored Prof Ongeri by five votes against 4 by the nine-member committee after being proposed by nominated Senator Millicent Omanga (Jubilee), who is allied to Tangatanga, an amorphous political faction in Jubilee Party that is aligned to Mr Ruto.
Ms Omanga, also a member of the Delegated Legislation Committee caused another discomfort within ODM party by again proposing Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni (ODM) against West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio (KANU).
It was in the interest of ODM that Mr Poghisio, a close ally of Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, chair the committee and be deputised by nominated Senator Farhiya Ali (Jubilee).
Mr Odinga and Mr Moi are currently working together under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that seeks to amend the current Constitution.
Mr Omogeni went on to win the committee leadership slot deputised by Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka (Wiper).
The CPAIC, a watchdog committee chaired by the opposition or the minority party, is crucial as it oversees use of public funds and investments in the 47 counties.
The minority party constitutes the majority in the committee.
According to Standing Order 190 of the Senate, a parliamentary party that nominated a senator to a select committee may give notice, in writing, to the chairperson of the SBC that the senator is to be discharged from the committee.
The SBC, chaired by Speaker Lusaka, generates the agenda to be transacted on the floor of the House whenever it holds a sitting.
The Standing Order further states that the chairperson of the SBC shall, upon receipt of the notice, forthwith convey it to the relevant committee.
“Such notice shall take effect upon receipt by the Chairperson or vice-chairperson if the discharge relates to the chairperson,” the Standing Order says.
With Mr Kina shown the door, Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, who was elected CPAIC’s vice-chairman, will receive the notice.