Key allies of Deputy President William Ruto appear to have abandoned him at his hour of need as President Uhuru Kenyatta intensifies his onslaught on the DP's foot soldiers.
The Star has established that some of Ruto's vocal lieutenants in the Senate were among the first members to sign a petition to oust Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki.
The Tharaka-Nithi senator is a confidant of the DP and one of his point men in the vote-rich Mt Kenya region.
The motion for Kindiki's removal is the clearest signal yet that Uhuru was slowly managing to tame defiant lawmakers who have been daring him for months.
However, Ruto allies including Oscar Sudi, termed the decision as a tactical retreat brought about by blackmail. He was referring to the DP's backers who have signed the petition for Kindiki's removal.
"Those people have been blackmailed. They have been blackmailed to sign for the removal of Kindiki. We know where their hearts are," Sudi said yesterday.
Senators have been called for a special sitting on Friday with one agenda: to debate the motion to kick out Kindiki as Deputy Speaker.
At least 48 Senators, more than the two-thirds (45) required to remove the holder of the office have signed the petition.
The numbers demonstrate that Uhuru with his new political partners including Opposition chief Raila Odinga could easily pass an impeachment motion against Ruto.
The DP's allies have claimed that an impeachment motion against their boss is the President's end game.
The Senate details emerged as a section of leaders from Mount Kenya East, Kindiki's home-turf protested what they claim is betrayal by the Jubilee administration
Out of the 48 senators who have endorsed the impeachment motion, 20 are from Jubilee with six of them long-term foot soldiers of the DP.
In fact, the six skipped last week’s State House meeting where two of the DP's allies, Kipchumba Murkomen and Susan Kihika were kicked out as Majority leader and Majority Whip respectively.
Topping the list of those who want Kindiki fired is nominated Senator Millicent Omanga previously a close confidant of the DP and a member of the Inua Mama, a women lobby group championing Ruto's 2022 presidential campaigns.
She once confessed that were it not for Ruto, she would be hawking bedsheets.
Other legislators who have supported Kindiki’s removal are Naomi Waqo, Christine Zawadi, Mary Seneta, Victor Prengei and Falhada Iman.
Mercy Chebeni who hails from the DP’s Uasin Gishu backyard has also signed in support of Kindiki's removal.
Five of the six are nominated senators set to appear before the Jubilee Party disciplinary committee for snubbing the President’s meeting.
They have responded to the show-cause letters pledging their allegiance to the President and the party – dealing a blow to the DP who has been banking on them to strengthen his grip on Parliament and widen grass-root networks as he prepares for the 2022 presidential duel.
Other Jubilee Senators who attended the State House meeting and have also signed the ouster motion against Kindiki but have been at the forefront supporting the DP are Trans Nzoia’s Michael Mbito, Embu’s Njeru Ndwiga and Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu).
Kindiki is very close to the DP and was at some point touted as a possible running mate for Ruto in 2022.
He is one of the tens of legislators who wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties protesting the changes to the Jubilee Party National Management Committee, a top party organ.
His removal would, therefore, deal a staggering blow to the DP’s ambitions of succeeding Uhuru in 2022.
Some 14 ODM senators have also signed the petition.
All three wiper and three Kanu senators have also signed.
Minority leader James Orengo led Raila Odinga’s ODM senators in signing the petition.
With the 48 signatures, Kindiki's fate is as good as sealed as it only requires 45 senators to kick him out.
Article 106 (2) of the Constitution stipulates that two-thirds of the members of a House of Parliament are required to remove a deputy speaker.
The motion will be debated and a vote taken on Friday. Speaker Kenneth Lusaka published the Special Sitting in a gazette notice yesterday. The sitting begins at 2.30 pm at Parliament Buildings.
“The business to be transacted at the Special Sitting shall be the consideration of a motion of the removal of Senator (Prof.) Kithure Kindiki from the office of Deputy Speaker of the Senate,” reads the notice.
However, with the stringent rules requiring only 28 members in the House aimed at reducing the spread of Covid 19, it is likely that some members will channel their votes through the Leaders of Majority and Minority as the recent guidelines issued by the speaker.
According to the guidelines, a Senator is considered to have attended the plenary session, if he or she has come to the precincts of Parliament for purposes of the sitting; is at the Senator’s office within the precincts of Parliament or has been recorded and certified by the Clerk to be present in Parliament.
“The Guidelines make it clear that the vote is cast by each Senator but communicated to the Senate by the leaders,” the speaker communicated on Tuesday.
Sources in Parliament revealed the party had settled on Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar to succeed Kindiki as Deputy Speaker.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja was also on the cards but the party leaders seem to have preferred Kamar because of her experience. Sakaja confirmed being approached for the seat but he said he was yet to make up his mind.
“Kamar is our choice because she is experienced and she sits in the speaker’s panel,” a Jubilee senator told the Star.
Kang’ata, who filed Kindiki’s removal motion by virtue of his office as the Majority Chief Whip, said the person who will succeed the Tharaka-Nithi senator ‘is a party secret.’
The plan has, however, triggered bitter protests from Kindiki’s Meru and Tharaka Nithi backyard.
Legislators from the region bitterly protested the move, saying it was an assault on the region who have stood with the Jubilee government and perennially voted with the Kikuyu nation.
“We the representatives of the people of Mount Kenya East, comprising of the Ameru, Atharaka and Aembu communities do not hesitate to record our protest to His Excellency Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta as regards what is happening to Professor Kithuure Kindiki,” they said in a statement signed by 10 legislators from the region.
Led by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, they said the treatment being meted out on Kindiki "is unmerited, unwarranted and to say the least disrespectful to the people we represent".
MPs Beatrice Nkatha (Tharaka Nithi Woman Representative), Gitonga Murugara (Tharaka), Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri), Muchiri Nyaga (Manyatta), Mutunga Kanyuithia (Tigania West), Geoffrey King’ang’i (Mbeere South), Kirima Nguchine (Imenti Central), Gichunge Kabeabea (Tigania East) and Parto Munene (Chuka Igamba ng’ombe) signed the statement.
Edited by P.O