- Speaker Ng’ondi expected to rule on the matter when the House resumes next week.
President William Ruto is on a mission to wrest majority leadership from Raila Odinga’s Azimio coalition in Nairobi county assembly.
A scheme by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party has been weaved on what appears to borrow from a recent precedent ruling of the National Assembly, in which Speaker Moses Wetang’ula declared Kenya Kwanza alliance the majority party in the House.
With Governor Johnson Sakaja already at hand in charge of the county executive, UDA’s next agenda is how to take control of the county legislature.
On Wednesday October 12, 2022, UDA Secretary General Veronica N. Maina wrote to the Nairobi City County Assembly Speaker Ken Ng’ondi forwarding names of the party nominees designated for majority positions in the House leadership.
“Kindly note that the following UDA leaders are the duly nominated Members from our Party to be the Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Deputy Majority Whip and County Service Board Member in Nairobi county assembly”, says the Secretary General.
Accordingly, UDA has nominated Waithaka Ward MCA Anthony Kiragu for the position of Leader of Majority while Nairobi South Ward MCA Waithera Chege is designated as the Deputy Leader of Majority.
The duo are charismatic second term MCAs who curved out a niche for themselves as astute debaters in the second county assembly. In some quarters, Kiragu is also seen as President Ruto’s point man in the Assembly.
Umoja One Ward MCA Mark Ronaldo Mugambi has been nominated as the Majority Whip to be deputized by Joyce Muthoni Kamau (nominated MCA). Susan Makungu (Mulango Kubwa Ward) has been nominated to represent UDA party on the County Assembly Service Board.
“This is the Party position which must be up held”, Ms Maina says in the compelling letter.
Ironically, just a day earlier on October 11, 2022, the House Speaker Ken Ng’ondi had done a written communication to all Members of the county legislature declaring Azimio coalition the majority party in the House.
In the communication, Azimio affirmed the nomination of Makongeni Ward MCA Jateso Peter Imwatok (ODM) as the Leader of Majority and Kilimani Ward MCA Moses Ogeto (ODM) as the Majority Chief Whip.
Azimio is seen to have settled for Imwatok and Ogeto on a power sharing deal and their unwavering record to articulate the coalition’s position in the House.
John Ndile Musila of Laini Saba Ward (Wiper) was nominated to be Deputy Leader of Majority and Stazo Omung’ala of Upper Savannah Ward (ODM) as the Deputy Majority Whip. Nominated MCA Catherine Akoth (ODM) is designated as a member of the County Assembly Service Board.
The Speaker acted on communication from Azimio Coalition designating its nominees to various leadership positions as the majority party in the House.
“I encourage the Kenya Kwanza coalition comprising UDA and CCK political parties and which is the second largest coalition in the Assembly with 53 Members, to designate and communicate its leadership in the House so that we can commence our legislative agenda as soon as possible”, he said.
Earlier, on September 29, Speaker Ng’ondi had revoked the nomination of the five Azimio Members as leaders of the majority side because their names had not been properly forwarded to the House in accordance with the Standing Orders.
Currently, the House is on short adjournment for Members to undergo induction, especially the first term MCAs, on parliamentary rules and procedures, and their conduct as honourable Members.
In the House, both ODM and UDA have 52 Members each, including those nominated. The Jubilee Party has nine MCAs while Wiper Democratic Movement party has six and Chama Cha Kazi of Trade Cabinet Secretary nominee, Moses Kuria has one MCA in the assembly.
Given the coalition arrangements, Azimio has 67 Members bringing on board ODM, Jubilee and Wiper. Kenya Kwanza has 53 comprising UDA and CCK while three MCAs are elected on Independent tickets.
Hence, going by the numbers at hand, it is apparent that Azimio coalition has the majority of MCAs in Nairobi county assembly. However, the communication by Ms Maina to the Speaker specifically mentions UDA, which has 52 Members like its adversary, ODM.
Speaker Ng’ondi expected to rule on the matter when the House resumes next week, considering his earlier communication in which he had already declared Azimio coalition as the majority party in the House.
A few weeks ago, Trade Cabinet Secretary nominee Moses Kuria announced plans to dissolve his Chama Cha Kazi party and join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
The CCK party has Mutuini Ward MCA, Martin Mbugua Mwangi, as the only Member in the county assembly.
Kuria has been reported as saying he had already notified the Registrar of political Parties (ORRP) of the move to dissolve the party.
On October 4, 2022, Ngara Ward MCA and former acting Speaker, Chege Mwaura wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties regarding dissolution of CCK and if that would change the party strength in Nairobi County Assembly.
“In case the House is moved to a division to determine numbers between UDA and ODM as they stand, the Speaker has option to apply the casting vote rule to break a tie, says Obonyo Konyuka, a director designate in the Office of the Speaker.
The former Gatina Ward MCA notes that the casting vote rule is a universal legislative instrument used to break up stalemates with a razor-thin winning gap.
Speaker Ng’ondi could apply this casting vote rule to break a tie and resolve such a stalemate, he adds.