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Moses Wetangula’s rise to third most powerful man in Kenya

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By Judith Gicobi

Just one day after announcing his resignation as Bungoma County Senator, Moses Wetangula, the leader of the Ford Kenya party, was sworn in as speaker of the National Assembly on Thursday.

Wetangula, whose political allegiances lean toward President-elect William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza alliance, won the highly sought-after seat by garnering 215 votes to his rival Kenneth Marende’s 130, who withdrew before the second round of voting.

Wetangula, also known as “Papa wa Roma,” is now the eighth National Assembly Speaker in Kenyan history.

The UoN Bachelor of Law graduate, who was born on September 13, 1956, got into politics for the first time in 1992 after being nominated as a Member of Parliament by the then-ruling party KANU.

Prior to running for the Sirisia constituency’s MP seat in 2002, which he won and retained until 2013, he served in the office for five years.

Kibaki later extended Wetangula’s 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 joined 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).

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.

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According to the terms of the new coalition, if Kenya Kwanza won the election, Wetangula would be the coalition’s choice for Speaker of the National Assembly, and Mudavadi would run for Chief Minister.

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