Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The battle for National Assembly Speaker has narrowed down to a two-horse race between incumbent Kenneth Marende and former Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed.

This follows Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa’s announcement that he was not interested in the seat.

Mr Marende has declared he would be defending his seat under the CORD Coalition led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, while Abdikadir is set to receive blessings from the Jubilee Coalition.

Mr Abdikadir is also enjoying support of an equally sizeable number of MPs from the CORD, following his neutral stand in spearheading the implementation of the new Constitution.

The soft-spoken former Mandera Central MP was the chairman of the Justice and legal Affairs committee as well as the Constitutional Implementation Committee after the promulgation of the Constitution and fought to have it implemented until the time parliament was dissolved.

He was also instrumental in judicial reforms as his committee vetted the now Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and former deputy Nancy Baraza before they were approved by Parliament.

Marende, on the other hand, has steered the House through turbulent times having taken over from long serving Speaker Francis ole Kaparo in 2008 and oversaw the legislation process that operationalised the new Constitution.

And the race for various seats in the two Houses has intensified with Alliance Party of Kenya leader Kiraitu Murungi touted for the seat of Majority Leader in the Senate. Mr Kaparo is being fronted to take over as first Speaker of the Senate under a Jubilee Coalition arrangement.

Sources within the Uhuru-Ruto led coalition said Kiraitu had been settled upon for the seat following the inability of Narc leader and Water minister Charity Ngilu to win the Kitui County Senate seat that would have placed her in the strategic position.

Ngilu’s Narc also managed one seat as opposed to the requirement of two and above which would have enabled the party to get a nomination slot.

The sources also said Environment minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, another key ally of Uhuru and Ruto, who was trounced in the Kwale Senatorial race, is being touted for National Assembly Majority Leader’s seat.