Some Ruto’s allies team up with Kieleweke, Nasa to vote out Kiambu governor Pic: Photo Courtesy
Waititu voting exposes DP Ruto’s dwindling grip of Senate
Deputy President William Ruto’s influence in Parliament fast declining in the wake of divisions within Jubilee and changing political landscape
•Waititu is an influential Ruto confidant whom the DP has been banking on as he courts the Mt Kenya
The successful impeachment of Ferdinand Waititu as Kiambu governor has revealed DP William Ruto’s collapsing grip on the Jubilee-controlled Parliament.
The DP’s perceived numerical strength in the bicameral House was put to question at the Senate after his troops were outnumbered leading to Waititu’s ouster.
Waititu is an influential Ruto confidant whom the DP has been banking on as he courts the Mt Kenya region ahead of the 2022 polls.
Allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM chief Raila Odinga closed ranks in a clear demonstration of the entrenchment of the handshake to send the Kiambu governor home.
The DP’s lieutenants controlling influential parliamentary leadership positions may now find it difficult to survive a looming purge, with Uhuru said to be keen on a housecleaning.
The President reportedly wants the changes effected immediately the MPs resume sessions next month as he moves to stamp his authority in the House and entrench the handshake.
While the DP’s allies have been boasting of controlling the Senate as opposed to those supporting the President, voting patterns proved that the president calls the shots.
In the Senate, an overwhelming majority of the lawmakers – 28 out of the 38 members who were present – convicted the governor on all the three charges.
There were 25 Jubilee leaning senators, enough to save Waititu if they would have voted for him.
The vote followed a fault line in the ruling party – Kieleweke and Tangatanga – with the former ganging up with Raila’s Nasa to kick the governor out.
Kielekwe is a Jubilee faction supporting the handshake and the resulting Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) while Tangatanga supports the DP’s 2022 presidential bid.
His lieutenants in the House led by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen put up a spirited fight to save him.
But in a surprise move that revealed the DP’s dwindling grasp of the influential legislators, some senators who have been close to the country’s second-in-command defied the bid to save Babayao.
They jumped ship and teamed up with the President’s and Raila’s men in sending home the county chief, who is also charged with graft.
“If the charges and evidence lead to a conclusion we will acquit, we will do so without any apologies, but not the political inclinations that we are being whipped to support,” Murkomen said.
Among the allies who voted out Waititu were Margaret Kamar, the Senator of Uasin Gishu – Ruto’s backyard, Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Ali Abdullahi (Wajir), Njeru Ndwiga (Embu) and Isaac Mwaura (nominated).
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said, “Waititu is being impeached because of politics. Because it is politically convenient to day, please let’s mind our conscience. You don’t know where you will stand tomorrow. In case of Waititu, it is a government eating its own people because of politics,”
According to the Senate Hansard, other Jubilee senators who voted in favour of the ouster motion were Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga), Ephraim Maina (Nyeri) and Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu). KANU’s Gideon Moi (Baringo), Samuel Pogishio (West Pokot) and Halakhe Abshiro (nominated) also voted against Waititu.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula was the only Nasa lawmaker who voted in favour of Waititu, triggering speculation the DP could be plotting to work with the Ford Kenya leader ahead of the elections.
Ruto has been reaching out to political bigwigs for an alliance as he prepares to fight for the top seat. Wetang’ula vote to save the DP’s man could be a pointer could be planning to work together.
Lately, the DP has been courting Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyioka and ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi to his camp.
Those who voted against the motion were Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Hargura Godana (Marsabit), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Anwar Loitiptip (Lamu) and Mithika Linturi (Meru).
Others were Christopher Langat (Bomet), John Kinyua (Laikipia), Mary Seneta (nominated) and Millicent Omanga (nominated).
Ruto has been enjoying massive support in Parliament with the leadership of the two houses leaning towards him.
But the Wednesday vote was a pointer the DP was losing his pointmen to the President as the politics of the handshake and BBI take shape.