President-Elect William Ruto had an easy day at the Parliament as his Kenya Kwanza political formation bundled the coveted Speakers’ seats in both Houses of Parliament.
Kenya Kwanza also captured the deputy speaker positions in the National Assembly and the Senate cementing dominance in the 13th Parliament.
Wetangula clinched the much coveted seat after amassing 215 votes against 130 garnered by his competitor Kenneth Marende, who bowed out before the second round of voting after none of the two failed to achieve a two-thirds majority (233 votes).
Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei overpowered rival Farah Maalim to seal the deputy position reaping 198 votes against 139 respectively after withdrawal from 2nd round voting.
Wetangula, alias Papa wa Roma, is now the eighth National Assembly Speaker in Kenya history succeeding Muturi who he claims to have a well-established connection with as “Muturi has been my classmate and roommate in campus, we got elected as MPs on the same day, we were appointed magistrates on the same day,” claimed Wetangula during his inauguration speech.
In what appeared to be an indicator of political dominance in both Houses, Ruto’s candidates attracted votes from MPs from Uhuru’s and Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja. Wetangula got 54 votes more than the official Kenyan Kwanza in the National Assembly while Kingi got 10 votes more than the coalition’s numbers in the Senate.
This now makes Wetangula as the eighth National Assembly Speaker in Kenya history and third in command in the country.
At the Senate, his counterpart Amason Jeffah Kingi, having served for 2 terms as the Kilifi County Governor, with an understanding on the importance of the senate on matters devolution, had a swift win after his rival Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka pulled out of the race the last minute citing bribery before the voting process.
Kingi met the threshold of two-thirds majority garnering 46 votes out of 67 votes being the total number of Senators on the first round to be declared Senate speaker elect while the deputy position went to Meru Senator Murungi Kathuri after his opponent Stewart Madzayo boycotted from the race at the last minute citing a consultative consensus with Kenya Kwanza leadership.
While Kenya Kwanza has 161 MPs, Azimio has a total of 176 in the National Assembly.
Kingi received 46 votes, which indicates that 10 Azimio senators supported him in the race. Senator Johnes Mwaruma (Taita), Senator Joseph Githuku (Lamu), Senator Mohammed Faki (Mombasa), Senator Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi), Sen. Juma Boy (Kwale), Sen. Abdul Haji (Garissa), Sen. James Lomenen (Turkana), Sen. Okiya Omtatah (Busia), Sen. Fatuma Dhulo (Isiolo), others from Azimio left the Chamber, but the 10 remained inside.
The UoN Bachelor of Law graduate, who was born on September 13, 1956, entered politics in 1992 when the then-ruling party, KANU, nominated him as a Member of Parliament.
He maintained the position for five years before running for the Sirisia constituency MP seat, which he won and retained until 2013.
Wetangula worked for the late Mwai Kibaki as assistant minister for foreign affairs from June 17, 2003, to January 10, 2008.
He succeeded Raphael Tuju as Minister of Foreign Affairs under Kibaki from January 2008 and March 2010.
Kibaki later extended Wetangulas tenure as minister of foreign affairs from August 2011 to March 2012.
He was transferred to the Trade ministry docket in the same month as Kibaki shuffled his cabinet.
Before opting to run for the Senate seat representing Bungoma County in the 2013 General Election, he held the office for almost a year. In the same year, he also began working for Ford Kenya.
Following the elections, Wetangula served for the following four years as the senator for Bungoma, the minority leader in the Senate, and a member of the now-defunct Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).
Along with Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Musalia Mudavadi, he was designated as a principal of the National Super Alliance (NASA) in 2017.
Wetangula joined forces with Kalonzo and Mudavadi to establish the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) prior to the 2022 elections, which he and Mudavadi ultimately abandoned to join Ruto in Kenya Kwanza.
According to the terms of the new partnership, Wetangula would run for Speaker of the Assembly while Mudavadi would run for Chief Minister if Kenya Kwanza won the elections.