Crisis looms as Kenya MPs reject law reform lists - Daily Nation

Crisis looms as Kenya MPs reject law reform lists

Thursday November 25 2010

MPs at a past session in Parliament. Photo/FILE

Kenyan MPs at a past session in Parliament. Photo/FILE 

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

Parliament dealt a blow to the drive for a new constitutional order when it voted to reject a list of people to sit on two key implementation commissions.

MPs said the list for the implementation committee lacked regional balance and said it should be returned to the principals.

They gave the same treatment to the Revenue Allocation Commission.

The failure comes with dire consequences, opening the door for any member of the public to move to court to request for dissolution of Parliament.

Mr Justin Muturi, a former MP who is also a lawyer, said:

“The principals have done their work, but Parliament has failed in its constitutional duty. Any citizen can now go to court to ask for its dissolution.”

LSK chairman Kenneth Akide said the MPs’ decision will plunge the country into a constitutional crisis.

“The MPs have acted irresponsibly and are politicising the implementation of the new Constitution unnecessarily,” he said.

Earlier, 169 MPs had signed a petition threatening to reject the nominees if the 80 new constituencies are not gazetted.

But as debate on the matter started, Speaker Kenneth Marende urged members to keep off the matter of constituencies saying it was before a court of law.

The development came just hours after news emerged that burglars had broken into the offices of the Kenya Law Reform Commission and stolen information on the drafting of Bills to effect the new law.

The raid was blamed on those intent on sabotaging the implementation of the new Constitution.

In Parliament, Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto interrupted the debate when he called for adjournment on grounds that other members had expressed reservations about the regional balance of nominees to the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution.

This means that government has failed to put in place the Commission within the specified period in the Constitution. The implementation commission, and that of revenue, were scheduled to have been in place 90 days after the promulgation date, which was on Thursday.

It also means that the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs will vote to take the list back to President Kibaki and Prime Minister to balance the nominees from the short-list of 18 applicants that they received from the interviewing panel of the Public Service Commission.

Alternatively they can lobby members to support the lists. The motion to adjourn debates was supported by 91 MPs and opposed by 44, with eight choosing not to vote.

The House Business Committee will now have to decide when the list can be debated next, but at the back of their minds will be the fact that a crucial deadline has been missed.

The deadline to form the two commissions is Saturday and Parliament will sit next on Tuesday afternoon. Mr Ruto is notably a member of the committee that vetted the list.

Speaker Kenneth Marende put the motion to the vote and those supporting it won by acclamation, but the opposers garnered enough numbers to demand a physical count.

Earlier, allegations over the past of Philemon Mwaisaka marked the start of the debate over the list of nominees to the Committee on the Implementation of the Commission.

They complained that proposed chairman Charles Nyachae, Prof Peter Wanyande, Dr Florence Omosa and Catherine Mumma all come from Nyanza.

The onslaught on Mr Mwaisaka had began with Bahari MP Fondo Gunda, who asked the House to reject Mr Mwaisaka’s nomination based on allegations that he grabbed land when he served in government.