The voting exercise of the National Assembly speaker was marred with chaos after Kenya Kwanza allied leaders and their Azimio la Umoja counterparts differed over the candidature of former Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula.
While rising on a point of order, Ruaraka Member of Parliament, TJ Kajwang claimed that Wetangula was not eligible to contest for the seat as he was still considered a member of the Senate.
Kajwang claimed that Wetangula submitted his resignation behind schedule and ought to be barred from contesting in the speaker’s race.
Wetangula was due to face off with former Speaker Kenneth Marende who enjoyed the backing of Azimio La Umoja senators.
“I have a fundamental and constitutional issue to raise regarding the candidature of Moses Wetangula. I am asking whether he is eligible to be a candidate for the speaker position.
“As per the Constitution, a person is qualified to become a speaker if he is a member of this house and if he is a member of the Senate, he should have submitted his resignation to the Speaker,” he raised.
Additionally, Kajwang alleged that Wetangula was not eligible to hold any public office raising integrity questions.
“I pray that you find that Wetangula is illegible to hold the position of the Speaker,” he added.
Azimio La Umoja MPs who also argued that Wetangula’s integrity was questionable, cited the Tokyo Embassy Property Scandal that forced the Ford Kenya leader to resign from Cabinet in October 2010.
Wetangula was then accused of misuse of his ministry’s funds for several land deals abroad.
However, in a rebuttal, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa maintained that Wetangula- whose candidature was fronted by the faction resigned as senator-elect.
“He (Wetangula) resigned two days after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) gazetted the names of elected legislators.
“The former speaker acts in perpetuity until another speaker is elected. Even in the NA, Justin Muturi still remains to be the speaker until another person is elected,” Ichung’wa stated.
“Moses Wetangula ceased to be the senator of Bungoma on August 9… before he submitted his resignation, Wetangula has been a senator-elect and therefore not a state officer,” Garissa Town MP, Aden Duale added.
In response, acting clerk Serah Kioko confirmed that Wetangula was eligible to contest for the seat after meeting all the requirements needed for the position.
She added that Wetangula submitted his resignation letter addressed to the Office of the Speaker of the Senate.
“On September 5, after Wetangula submitted his papers, I also wrote to the IEBC over the eligibility of Wetangula to vies for office. Consequently, in a letter on September 6, IEBC stated that he is eligible to contest for the position.
“In the UK, a member is considered to be a member of parliament only after he has taken the oath of office,” she explained and ordered the house to proceed to vote.