Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Will Munya replace Ruto as council of governors’ chair?

Campaigns for chairmanship of the Council of Governors officials has kicked off in earnest with a number of members eyeing the top positions. CoG chairman Isaac Ruto who is also the Bomet governor is officially not defending his seat having served for two terms.
Sources say the elections for the council officials are scheduled for May after the Second Devolution Conference to be held in Kisumu county next month. The new officials will serve for a maximum of two years.
The position of chairman has attracted more attention than any other position. The position of chief whip held by Bungoma governor Ken Lusaka is also said to have attracted a lot of interest.
The name that has featured prominently as possible replacement to Ruto is Kwale governor Salim Mvurya, who is the current council vice-chairman. Mvurya is currently serving his first term as deputy chair and is tipped to be the next chairman.
However, his main disadvantage is that he is an ODM governor yet according to some power sharing arrangement, it had been agreed that the chair be reserved for Jubilee and deputy for Cord. Those pushing for Mvurya say he is a sober minded man who can fit perfectly well in Ruto’s shoes.
But some governors who are opposed to Mvurya claim that he is not firebrand and the position needs a controversial governor who will be able to take on the government head on. Unconfirmed reports however indicate that Mvurya has confided in his Cord colleagues that he will defend his seat as vice-chair.
Another name that is being mentioned is that of Meru governor Peter Munya. If the power sharing deal is anything to go by then being a Jubilee governor he stands better chance to replace Ruto.
Those pushing for Munya say he is equally controversial as Ruto and has very little time for Jubilee leadership and sober-minded and cannot be bulldozed by those in power. They say Munya has the energy, drive and passion to spearhead devolution.
He has been in most cases opposed to some crucial positions taken by Jubilee leadership. Lately, he came out openly to reject plans to have Jubilee affiliate parties disband to join Jubilee Alliance Party.
Munya is a well-known rebel ever since his election more so after TNA’s Kilemi Mwiria petitioned his election. Munya believed Jubilee top brass led by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were part of the scheme to have him ousted and defeated in a subsequent by-election.
After the Supreme Court upheld his victory, Uhuru appointed Mwiria to the position of the official adviser for the president on matters of education. To Munya and his supporters, Mwiria and Jubilee are his political enemies who tried in vain to oust him through an election petition. Munya was elected on APK ticket whose chairman is Senator Kiraitu Murungi.
Politically, Jubilee has never been comfortable with Munya and that makes his most suitable to succeed Ruto. Sources say Ruto has been lobbying among the governors to have Munya take over saying he is the right person to take the national government head on. We have also established that Munya enjoys a good rapport with a number of Cord governors. He is one of the brave Jubilee governors who has stood with the Pesa Mashinani initiative. This makes him stand out among Jubilee governors majority of whom bowed out due to pressure from Uhuru and Ruto.
Chances are high that Munya is likely to carry the day with Mvurya as his deputy. A contest between Mvurya and Munya for the top seat is also likely to produce political fireworks since Jubilee friendly governors are likely to abandon Munya whom they consider a rebel and vote for Mvurya.
Another name that has featured prominently is that of Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya. Oparanya is also known to have been in the forefront in the Pesa Mashinani campaigns. His main undoing is that he is an ODM governor and Jubilee might not be willing to have the position taken by an ODM governor.
For the position of council whip, the incumbent Ken Lusaka has declared that he will not be going for any elective post.
Also to be elected are committee chairmen and their deputies. One committee that is said to have attracted more interest is the powerful finance, commerce and economic affairs whose chairman is Wajir governor Ahmed Abdullahi. The position is said to have attracted a number of candidates.
Another influential committee is that of rules and Business which is chaired by the Chairman CoG and seven other committee members and comprises also all chairpersons of other committees. Apart from the other committee chairmen, the seven members in the current committee are Evans Kidero, Kenneth Lusaka, Julius Malombe, James Ongwae, Hussein Dado, Peter Munya and William Kabogo.
Other committee chairmen who will face elections are energy (Joseph Mandago, roads and transport (John Mruttu), arid and semi arid lands (Ali Roba), education and ICT (Cleophas Lagat), legal affairs and human rights (Peter Munya) and human resources, labour and social welfare (James Ongwae).
Others are health and biotechnology (Jack Ranguma), agriculture and land (Nderitu Gachagua), water, mining and natural resources (Joshua Irungu), foreign affairs (Ukur Yatani), security (Hussein Dado), trade and investment (Wycliffe Oparanya), media, liaison and communication committee (Alfred Mutua), urban development committee (Julius Malombe), political caucus committee (Moses Akaranga) and resource mobilisation committee (Salim Mvurya).