Kenya: Wetangula, Kalonzo Emerge As Likely House Speakers as Alliances Work to Swing Frail Parties, Independents

Nairobi — The race for National Assembly Speakership, an office considered the third highest in the country, is shaping up despite the anxious wait for the determination of a presidential election petition should one be filed by Monday.

The Kenya Kwanza Alliance hit the ground running following the declaration of its principal William Ruto as President-Elect with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) leader keen to consolidate his support in parliament to command a majority.

Ruto, who convened a Kenya Kwanza Alliance caucus on Wednesday, said ten of twelve independent lawmakers had pledged to back his alliance in the execution of parliamentary business.

The President-Elect is also banking on two parties affiliated to the rival Azimio Coalition — Alfred Mutua’s Chama Cha Maendeleo (MCC) and Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) – with a cumulative six lawmakers to bolster its dominance.

MCC and PAA leaders stormed out of Azimio and have since contested a exit clause that binds them to the alliance until November 9.

The sixteen additional slots (10 independents and 6 MCC and PAA members) could increase Kenya Kwanza’s numerical strength in the House to 169.

The Raila Odinga-led Azimio outfit on the other hand has 162 lawmakers from affiliate parties excluding two independents whop are yet to pick a side and with four parliamentary elections pending in Rongai, Pokot South, Kitui Rural and Kacheliba

With the battle to consolidate numbers still ongoing, Bungoma Senator and former Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula (Kenya Kwanza) and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (Azimio) have emerged as likely contenders for the House Speakership.

The party or coalition with majority of legislators will have its way in election of the Speaker.

However they are four parliamentary elections still pending after voting in those regions was postponed indefinitely with the poll commission citing harassment.

In the Senate, Kenya Kwanza Alliance has an upper hand as they garnered 24 seats while their rivals Azimio La Umoja One Kenya managed 23 seats.

Already the Ruto-led coalition has an advantage on control of the Senate in electing the speaker if the status quo remains.

Sources indicated that the slot was already reserved for PAA Party Leader Amason Kingi which was in line with the coalition’s party agreement deposited at the registrar of political parties.

Azimio is said to have fronted former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende for the slot.

But the fate on who will become the next speaker is subject to political dynamics before the 13th Parliament convenes for its first session which is expected before September 9.


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