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All about Wetangula, the third most powerful person in Kenya

By Hilary Kimuyu September 9th, 2022 2 min read

Former Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula is now Kenya’s third in command after being elected Speaker of the National Assembly on Thursday evening.

Mr Wetangula had been fronted by the Kenya Kwanza Coalition, which is headed by President-elect William Ruto.

His election as National Assembly Speaker makes him the third most-powerful leader in Kenya after the president and the deputy president.

This is based on the order of precedence in regard to the hierarchy of leadership in Kenya.

He was sworn into office at 7:30pm on Thursday, September 8.

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Mr Wetangula overcame competition from Kenneth Marende, who had been fronted by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya, to win the Speaker contest held in the chambers of the National Assembly.

He beat his main competitor former Speaker Mr Marende of the Azimio la Umoja Coalition.

In the first round, where one needed a two-thirds majority (233 votes), Wetangula got 214 while Marende got 130.

Ordinarily, the voting would have gone to the second round but Mr Marende wrote to the clerk saying he would not take part in the second round.

There were initial protests to Mr Wetangula’s candidature after Azimio la Umoja MPs claimed that he had not properly resigned from his position as Bungoma Senator.

However, the Clerk dismissed the protest on the strength of letters from Mr Wetangula, the Senate, and the IEBC.

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The speaker presides over debates in the House and, though quite rarely, in the committee of the Whole of House.

He or she is the spokesperson of the House. As a presiding officer, the speaker ensures the orderly flow of business and that the House observes parliamentary rules and traditions, both written and unwritten.

Mr Wetangula was born on September 13, 1956, is married to Anne and Phyllis Wetangula, and has three children.

After his secondary education at Friends School, Kamusinga, he was admitted to the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree.

Mr Wetangula is the Ford Kenya party leader as was first elected MP when the late former President Daniel Moi nominated him to parliament in 1993. Before then, he had served as a magistrate and also represented soldiers who were involved in the 1982 coup attempt after he joined private practice.

He also served as chairman of the Electricity Regulatory Board after he lost in the 1997 general election. He was re-elected in 2002 and appointed assistant Minister for Foreign affairs and elevated to Minister after the 2007 elections in the Grand Coalition Government.

He was later moved to the Ministry of Trade where he served until 2013 when he was elected the Senator for Bungoma County. He was re-elected in 2017 and 2022 but resigned in the latter to seek the position of Speaker under Dr Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza coalition.

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