Wrangles rocking Kenya’s opposition party, National Super Alliance (Nasa) intensified on Tuesday with a bare-knuckle fight over the post of Senate minority leader.
Nasa senators elected their Siaya counterpart James Orengo to the seat in what seemed to be a rebellion against their leaders, who on Monday wrote to the speaker saying they would retain Moses Wetang’ula.
The letter, sent to Speaker Ken Lusaka, was authored by Nasa CEO Norman Magaya.
At least 19 senators who attended Nasa’s Parliamentary Group meeting at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi unanimously voted to replace Mr Wetang’ula with Mr Orengo.
The Siaya lawmaker will be deputised by Kakamega Senator Cleopa Malala.
On Thursday last week, the Orange Democratic Movement Parliamentary Group meeting at Orange House Passed a resolution to kick out Mr Wetang’ula over claims of mistreating his colleagues in the House.
The speaker was informed of the move but delayed granting ODM its wishes.
Mr Lusaka ruled that even though the party’s meeting that resolved to have the senator replaced was valid, his removal would be suspended as the election of Mr Orengo as his replacement was not procedural.
The speaker’s ruling is the reason Nasa senators met on Tuesday to ratify ODM’s decision.
Ford-Kenya, Mr Wetang’ula’s party, it was “not aware” of his ouster.
Boni Khalwale, Ford Kenya deputy party leader, told the party’s National Executive Council meeting in Nairobi that Mr Wetangula can only be removed by the Nasa summit comprising of the four Nasa principals.
He said the party had resolved to push House speakers to strip ODM of its parliamentary leadership positions, saying “it has crossed to the other side of the floor.”
He was referring to the newfound love between ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Kenyatta.
“When you move to the other side of the floor, you cease being a member of the opposition, and you will be stripped off those leadership positions you got for being a member of the minority, ” Dr Khalwale said.
Ford-Kenya, he said, had directed its members to seek rulings of the speakers of the two Houses on whether ODM MPs can continue holding minority leadership positions if they are found to have crossed to the majority side.
“We are happy to chart a new way forward without ODM. And we have agreed to enthusiastically hold the government and its new partners to account on behalf of the Kenyan people,” he said.