Nasa MPs walk out of House over changes on election laws

Friday September 29 2017

Opposition MPs addressing the media outside Parliament Buildings on September 28, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Opposition MPs addressing the media outside Parliament Buildings on September 28, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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By SAMWEL OWINO
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MPs, mainly from the Jubilee Party, on Thursday evening approved the creation of a special committee to scrutinise proposed changes to the law on elections, driving on the dispute it has created between them and the opposition.

Opposition MPs stormed out of the chamber in the morning after losing a vote on the fast-tracking of the Bill and did not return to the House in the afternoon when the nine-member committee was formed.

The committee will be headed by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo and has eight other members from the Jubilee Party. It is expected to receive the views of the public during the 11-day break that started on Thursday evening.

The creation of the committee signals the Jubilee Party’s resolve to go ahead with the proposed changes despite the fact that the opposition coalition, Nasa, cited the bill’s fast-tracking as the basis for walking out of talks with the electoral commission at the Bomas of Kenya.

On Thursday evening, Majority Leader Aden Duale sought to justify the bill and asked MPs  and every other interested party to read the bill and see that the Jubilee Party has no sinister motive in fronting it just before the repeat election.

SUPREME COURT

He said the motivation to come up with the bill arose from the judgment of the Supreme Court in allowing the petition against the re-election of President Kenyatta and the landmark case by Maina Kiai  before the elections.

In the morning, Mr Duale and other Jubilee leaders in the House rallied their numbers to shorten the publication period for the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill and two others, allowing their formal introduction in the legislative pipeline.

They voted 144-53, flexing their numerical strength, with the MPs from the opposition then staging a walk-out from the chambers.

Led by Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang, the Nasa MPs said they would fight to the end to ensure that Jubilee does not turn parliamentary affairs into Jubilee activities.

“What has been done today is like Jubilee rubber-stamping the agenda of their party from State House,” said Mr Kajwang.

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa accused Jubilee of changing the rules of the game midway, a move he said is meant to help President Uhuru Kenyatta rig the repeat  election.