How Lusaka found himself at a crossroads in Uhuru-Ruto wars - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 14 May 2020

How Lusaka found himself at a crossroads in Uhuru-Ruto wars

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka on August 31, 2017.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka on Tuesday found himself at a crossroads, balancing the law with the interests of his party bosses.
His confidants say that on Monday night Lusaka was in deep thought, contemplating how he would navigate the turbulence caused by President Uhuru Kenyatta's earlier upstaging of Deputy President William Ruto in Jubilee Senate leadership.
Before him was a case involving the head of state and JP leader, who holds the ultimate key to his position as Speaker, and the DP, a close friend and the man who played a critical role in his election as the Senate boss.
Uhuru had in the morning chaired a parliamentary group meeting of JP senators at State House which kicked out Kipchumba Murkomen and Susan Kihika as Senate Majority leader and Majority Whip respectively.
Their replacements were West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio (Kanu) and his Murang’a counterpart Irungu Kang’ata (JP) respectively. Murkomen represents Elgeyo Marakwet and Kihika Nakuru.
Twenty DP allies had a two-prong approach to convince Lusaka not to accept the changes.
Their petition to the Speaker was that the changes were not done in accordance with the Standing Orders. 
They also moved to the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal to challenge the post-election agreement signed last Friday by a section of JP officials and their Kanu counterparts.
On Tuesday morning, the PPDT had barred the execution of the JP and Kanu deal until the case of the DP wing is heard and determined.
“The pending and determination of this application inter partes, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents as well as the 1st and 2nd interested parties themselves, their agents and or servants or employees be restrained from taking any action and or decision on the strength of impugned coalition agreement purportedly signed between the 1st and 2nd interested parties and deposited on 4th May 2020, including making changes to the Majority Leader and Majority Whip of the Senate,” the orders issued by the PPDT said.
But the hopes of the senators were dashed when Lusaka ruled that the changes met the threshold and when challenged on the PPDT ruling, he promised to issue a comprehensive communication later.
Lusaka told the House he had received the minutes of the Monday State House meeting and he was satisfied that majority of the senators participated.
“I am satisfied that the changes were made in accordance with the Senate Standing Orders 19 (1), (2)(3) 40 (5)and (7) and meets the threshold required under Standing Order 19 (5) there having been a majority of votes,” he ruled.
However, the State House minutes seen by the Star shows that there were glaring irregularities.
Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar and Alice Milgo (nominated) are listed to have attended yet appended their signatures among the 20 who rejected the State House PG.
Another anomaly the 20 senators are disputing is the participation of Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru who signed the attendance form yet he is an Independent representative.
Three other senators State House listed as having missed the meeting with apology have sided with the Ruto camp.
They are Wario Golich (Tana River), Mithika Linturi (Meru) and Naomi Waqo (nominated)
Senate Deputy Speaker and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki has not been listed among those who attended the State House meeting but his name is appearing in the pro-Ruto senators. He, however, did not sign the list attached to the protest letter to Lusaka.
The Star has established that threats and intimidation dominated the removal from office of Murkomen and Kihika.
The President is said to have personally taken charge of ushering in the new Senate leadership hours before and after the State House meeting.
Senators said to be "lukewarm" were asked to either attend or lose the lucrative contracts they have with the government while nominated ones were threatened with the revocation of their names.
So serious was the issue that a senator from Rift Valley perceived to be a Ruto ally was told he would lose a lucrative contract of supplying items to the Kenya Medical Services Authority.
“The environment of the meeting was in itself intimidating,” said a source who attended State House meeting.
In what appears to have been a no-stop clean-up of the Jubilee leadership, the removal of the Majority leader and the Whip was to be done on Tuesday afternoon, with the morning sessions dominated by the normal House business under the guidance of Deputy Speaker Kindiki.
“However, things changed fast. Shortly before the break of the second session, Speaker Ken Lusaka took charge and chaired the sessions, briefly ushering in the leadership change,” a senator said in confidence.
The representative said they were caught off-guard. Even the court order had not been officially served to the Senate.
“Mr Lusaka appeared to be coerced and under overwhelming pressure. He was not himself; his tone was that of a man in paradoxical situation,” noted the senator.
And even if the court papers were served on time, there was still the issue that the House cannot be injuncted, the Legislature being independent of the Judiciary.

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