- A crisis meeting by NASA principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula on Thursday helped avert an imminent split within the opposition following infighting over leadership positions in Parliament.
- It was agreed that Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC would take the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee in the National Assembly and a seat in the Parliamentary Service Commission.
- To soothe the Coastal group comprising MPs from Mr Odinga’s ODM party, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa was nominated to PSC and the vocal Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir named vice chairman of the Public Investment Committee.
- Wiper Democratic Movement took the Senate minority whip which was taken up by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and the National Assembly’s deputy minority leader’s slot which went to Kathiani MP Robert Mbui.
By Allan Tawai
The meeting at Mr Mudavadi’s home on Riverside Drive in Nairobi saw the three principals quickly craft a formula on how to share out the seats following days of apprehension and ultimatums by NASA constituent parties after it appeared that ODM, the largest party in the coalition had taken the bigger chunk of the slots.
It was agreed that Mudavadi’s ANC would take the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the National Assembly which has gone to Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi, and a seat in the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) which has been taken up by Vihiga Senator George Khaniri.
To appease the Coastal goup comprising MPs from Mr Odinga’s ODM party, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa was nominated to PSC and the vocal Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir named vice chairman of the Public Investment Committee (PIC).
Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement- Kenya party took the Senate minority whip which was taken up by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and the National Assembly’s deputy minority leader’s slot which went to Kathiani MP Robert Mbui.
Sources at the meeting indicated that there was alarm from the principals over continued interparty squabbling which was giving their Jubilee opponents so much opportunity to not only subvert the alliance but also distract them from their agenda.
There was a high temper on Wednesday when National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi announced the proposed leadership of the various committees with Coast ODM MPs severely protesting that their region had been shelved in the NASA list.
ANC MPs also had their own grievances and on Thursday, addressed the media and threatened to reconsider their stay in NASA if Lugari MP Ayub Savula was not named the deputy leader of minority in the National Assembly.
But soon after the ANC MPs had issued the threats, Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi quickly called another press conference where he faulted his colleagues for outplaying themselves. He instead declared that ANC was in NASA to stay.
“We are going nowhere because we are the ones who created NASA,” he said “The threats are premature because the principals are meeting over this matter. What is more, NASA Parliamentary Group meeting is scheduled for Tuesday where we hope to thrash out some of these issues. It would have been prudent if my colleagues had given the principals time to deliberate on this matter,”
On Friday, ANC senators George Khaniri and Cleophas Malala joined the argument and supported Mr Osotsi while disregarding claims that the party was considering its stay in NASA.
“ANC is an integral member of the Nasa coalition and any insinuation and threats that it will pull out from the coalition are inaccurate, irresponsible and motivated by myopic selfish motives and supported by Jubilee,” the two said in a statement that was also signed by Mr Osotsi and Vihiga Woman representatives Beatrice Adagala, who described the threats to walk out as uncalled for and premature.
The MPs declared they will not allow Jubilee Party to use some of its members to divide the coalition by taking advantage of the perceived rifts over the House leadership positions.
“The House leadership will not only be based on party representation but will also be guided by regional, gender balance, competence, capacity, ability and loyalty to the party,” they noted.
By virtue of being the senior most ANC MP in Kakamega County, Mr. Savula, who is serving his second term, was the natural beneficiary but was bypassed due to his alleged links with the DP.
“The MPs made it clear to Mr. Odinga that under no account would they accept Mr. Savula for the position,” the source said.