Uhuru Summons Senators to State House for Impromptu Meeting

File image of President Uhuru Kenyatta with his personal aide Timothy Lekol
File image of President Uhuru Kenyatta with his personal aide Timothy Lekol

Jubilee Party Secretary- General Raphael Tuju on Sunday, May 10 confirmed that the party's Senators had been invited to a Jubilee Parliamentary Group Meeting at State House, Nairobi.

The Parliamentary Group meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 11, and comes at a time when wrangles between members affiliated to Uhuru and those associated with Deputy President William Ruto have become apparent.

Calls have been growing, particularly within Ruto's wing of the party, for Uhuru to convene a Parliamentary Group meeting to iron out the issues.

Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on May 10, Tuju however, confirmed that the main issue he expected to be discussed was the transfer of functions from the Nairobi county government to the national government and the resulting stalemate.

Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju addressing the media on the Wajir West By election on April 10, 2019.
Jubilee Secretary-general Raphael Tuju addressing the media on the Wajir West By-election on April 10, 2019.

He explained that this was the reason why only Senators were invited as opposed to members of the National Assembly, as Senators are mandated to handle issues on devolved units.

Tuju asserted, however, that the invite to Senators for the meeting came directly from President Uhuru Kenyatta and, therefore, he could not dictate the agenda.

"You know, the invite came from the President so I cannot purport to be dictating the agenda. But one thing I know will be up for discussion is the situation in Nairobi County which as you know has had a lot of problems.

"This is why you have only Senators being invited as opposed to members of the National Assembly," he stated.

Although he agreed to the transfer of four functions to the national government in January, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has since announced that he was moving to terminate the agreement as he accused the government of overstepping.

He refused to assent to a bill that would release Ksh15 billion to the newly formed Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to undertake the transferred function, leading to the withdrawal of his security by the national government.

Senators including Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen have also spoken on the floor of the Senate against the seconding of senior military officers to lead the NMS, terming it a military take-over of a civilian government.

He spoke after six more senior officers were seconded to the NMS, after the appointment of Major General Mohammed Badi as Director-General of the agency in February.

"As we speak, we know that Nairobi has been militarized, it is no longer a civilian government, something that I would never have imagined under the new constitution.

"The militarization of the civilian or county government is the worst form of violation and overturn of the constitution.

"Let it be known that I Kipchumba Murkomen, the Majority Leader of the Senate of Kenya, is never and will never be supportive of a military-run county called Nairobi. This house must call this government to order," he told his colleagues on Tuesday, May 5.

There has also been persistent speculation that allies of the Deputy President within the leadership of Parliament, such as Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen or his National Assembly counterpart, Aden Duale, could be targeted for removal.

The last full Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting was held in 2017 after Uhuru secured a second term, and saw the occupants of various leadership positions in parliament decided.

An image of Kipchumba Murkomen, Oscar Sudi and Kangogo Bowen
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi (left), Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (centre) and Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen (right) seated at a gathering in Chesogon on Thursday, April 23 2020.