Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Hot Nakuru politics likely to break Jubilee

Nakuru county assembly politics could see the Jubilee alliance lose ground to Cord. The recent unsuccessful bid to topple the county speaker has divided the assembly and could be beginning of the ruling coalition’s degeneration although the wave is not yet over.
Since Nakuru county has been known as the country’s political hotbed from the time when Kenya became independent and throughout the Moi regime, those scheming for 2017 are camping in the county to fuel the fracas further.
Others claim that the behind- the-scenes turmoil to the Nakuru assembly is purportedly a plan to show the URP supporters in the Rift Valley region that the TNA supporters are not accommodative to their colleagues in the URP ahead of the 2017 general elections.
The friction in the area has prompted TNA to move in to calm jitters in the perceived William Ruto’s URP who feel shortchanged in the recent ouster and subsequent election of the Nakuru’s new deputy speaker.
Former assembly deputy speaker Samuel Tonui according to local political analysts is a strong supporter of the county’s deputy governor who is a buddy of the DP and therefore his ouster from office is viewed as a gain to the local URP rebels.
The deputy speaker James Tuei who replaced Tonui is said to be a supporter of a URP rebel MP.
There have been concerns in Rift Valley following the formation of Jap and Jubilee’s succession plan.
This prompted even the national assembly majority leader Aden Duale to accuse Cord of sowing division among Jubilee’s supporters in the Rift Valley by alleging that voters in Central Kenya may not support Ruto after the expiry of Uhuru’s term in office.
A number of area political and opinion leaders allied to URP and their supporters are skeptical about the new party Uhuru and his deputy will use to seek re-election in 2017.
Already Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has been vocal in opposing the formation of Jap and at several political platforms in the region has told URP supporters to be wary of the new political outfit.
The political supremacy nearly saw the county speaker being toppled although a URP MCA saved her.
The intense infighting within the assembly that involved the county MCAs and the embarrassing wars, others claim, are actually an attempted coup to topple Speaker Susan Kihika and and replace with an adherent of local URP rebels.
Details of the coup plot were however leaked to Kihika’s team moments after its schemers finished their plotting session and before its implementation.
The coup aborted as a URP MCA in the Nakuru county leaked details immediately after the then deputy speaker Tonui and former county majority leader Mwaura Njenga conducted the scheming.
We learnt that the anti-speaker group had to grab the mace and take it inside the assembly while some of their colleagues were to lock Kihika out by barricading the doors and then appoint Tonui to preside the house business and the subsequent ouster of the speaker was to take place.
According to the plan, since Tonui who has been the deputy speaker before the recent chaos was among the coup executers, all would have gone successfully which would have made the house sitting declare Kihika’s ouster legal with the mace inside and Tonui in position.
An inside source who spoke to us last week in Nakuru town added that it was a female MCA who leaked the plot that made the speaker the following day to enter into the assembly house forcibly with the mace while MCAs allied to her marked the opposing MCAs.
The Kihika team managed to counter their coalleagues’ plan as they too strongly manned the assembly’s main doors and other minor assembly passageways.
Nakuru assembly house clerk Joseph Malinda reportedly played a big role in calming both warring parties during the fracas as he is said to have a good command to the MCAs who have nicknamed him Bwana Dawa.
Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua opted to remain neutral over the saga as Malinda did but promised security backup in case of violence.
Now, according to our source at the county assembly, a reshuffle of county committees membership may be on the cards as Kihika moves to finalise taming a rebellion that saw Tonui ousted in retaliation and replaced by Kiptagich MCA James Tuei.
The speaker’s impending taming initiative is said to be in the offing after Rutto recently urged the Nakuru assembly to embrace dialogue saying that the violence depicted by the county MCAs was an unacceptable and crude method that could not solve any problem.
Meanwhile the UhuRuto administration last week moved to stem county assembly as it sent a high powered five person delegation to establish what is afflicting its 74 MCAs in a bid to end the incessant wrangles.
Drawn from headquarters of TNA and URP who are partners in the ruling Jubilee coalition, the team is headed by a political liaison to the presidency Patrick Ngatia with TNA and URP executive directors and members Davy Koech and Joseph Mathai.
Lawyers Dorothy Jemator of URP and George Ayugi are co-members in the team which is yet to finalise its findings.
Before the panel, all MCAs were advised by the panelist members to each make written submissions identifying problem areas affecting the Nakuru August House and suggestions on how they can be resolved.
The MCAs at the meeting according to the source were directed to only furnish information they can substantiate as they were supposed to sign the letters binding them to their testimony which may be used against them if found wanting.
Time will tell as who will carry the day in the scheming of the area politics and especially at this time when the ousted deputy speaker Tonui is said to be heading to court through a civil society group claiming his ouster was illegal.