Ford-Kenya party leader, Moses Wetangula on Thursday, September 8, trounced Kenneth Marende of Azimio la Umoja coalition in the first round of the National Assembly Speaker’s race.
In the hotly contested battle, the former Bungoma Senator garnered 215 votes against Marende’s 130. One spoilt vote was recorded taking the total number of votes to 346.
He, however, required over 230 votes to win the race.
Parliament is now gearing for a second round voting exercise and a winner would only be announced if any of the two wins two-thirds of the votes
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula and President-elect William Ruto at a past event.
Moses Wetangula Wetangula, a veteran politician who kicked off his career in Public Service as a magistrate, succeeds Justin Muturi who was elected in March 2013.
Only two candidates were cleared, according to the Acting National Assembly Clerk Serah Kioko who stated that at least 21 candidates collected nomination papers but the majority were disqualified.
Those who did not meet the threshold included Agano party leader and former presidential candidate David Mwaure Waihiga, Gideon Kiplangat Cheruiyot, Daniel Wanyonyi Opilo, Dorothy Kemunto Nyagori, Kevin Nyamari among others.
Before the vote, Ms Kioko had to rule on the candidature of Wetangula after Azimio MPs led by Ruaraka lawmaker TJ Kajwang argued that the former Senator did not follow due process.
“The Speaker to which he delivered his resignation letter (as Senator) was already a governor… Wetangula is not eligible to become a Speaker,” argued Kajwang whose argument was echoed by Nominated MP John Mbadi.
However, the Kenya Kwanza side stood its ground, fiercely defending the eligibility of Wetangula. Former Majority Leader Adan Duale and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwah dismissed Azimio’s stance as baseless.
“What TJ Kajawang is purporting can only be described as opaque,” charged Ichungwah.
“Moses Wetangula ceased to be the Senator of Bungoma on the 9th of August… before he submitted his resignation, Wetangula has been a senator-elect and therefore not a state officer,” Duale stated.
In her ruling, Kioko stated the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission – IEBC had cleared Wetangula, allowing MPs to proceed with the voting.
“I am in receipt of a letter dated August 29 from Moses Wetangula in which he communicated to the Speaker of Senate his decision to resign as Senator-elect of Bungoma. I have satisfied myself that Moses Wetangula is qualified to vie as Speaker of the National Assembly,” she explained.
Members of Parliament during a session in the 12th Parliament.