Parliament’s race against time to approve the nominees of two crucial Constitution Commissions hangs in the balance after a group of 169 MPs threatened to paralyse business.
Addressing a news conference in Parliament, the MPs, led by Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim, gave the Executive two hours to present the gazette notice bearing the new constituencies to Parliament or else the House will reject the nominees to the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIOC).
House Speaker Kenneth Marende ordered Parliament to sit in an extraordinary session beginning 7pm to discuss the nominees to the Commission on Revenue Allocation and the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution.
But just after the Speaker made the ruling, the 30 MPs representing the rest of their colleagues told journalists that they won’t approve the nominees to the two commissions.
Dr Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani, New Ford Kenya) had told the Speaker to rule on the issue of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission –that the matter too be sorted out within the extraordinary session.
Dr Khalwale said the question should be sorted out urgently given that the constitutional deadline for the life of the boundaries review commission is Saturday.
He said the IIBRC’s successor “does not have any powers to create new constituencies".
However, Mr Marende ruled that he’ll address the boundaries issue before the beginning of the extraordinary session later this evening.
But Mr Maalim told journalists at the news conference that it was clear from the IIBRC debacle that the “Executive does not respect the Constitution".
He accused the Judiciary of being “rogue” and of having proclivities towards “political activism” in the boundaries saga.
“This is a constitutional crisis…today is sadder than any other day in the world, and I see this as a continuation of the impunity. We have to rise about petty ethnicity,” said Mr Maalim, who is also Lagdera MP.
The MPs even said that they were ready to have Parliament dissolved if the President does not force the Government Printer to gazette the new constituencies.
At the packed news conference, Ms Rachel Shebesh (nominated, ODM) said the House will not allow the new commissions to sit unless and until the controversy was sorted.
“We believe there’s a bigger crisis when it comes to the failure by the Executive to gazette new constituencies,” said Ms Shebesh.
The MPs accused the Executive and the Judiciary of interfering with the IIBRC’s independence as granted in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
“If we cannot respect a constitutional commission, why do we waste more time creating more commissions whose reports the Executive is going to trash,” added Mr John Mbadi (Gwassi, ODM).
The Sixth Schedule according to Dr Eseli Simiyu (Kimilili, Ford Kenya) said the IIBRC ought to be allowed to conclude its business and those with grievances should go to court.
“We’re saying no to this impunity…that’s the folly of putting old wine in new wineskins. When we passed the new Constitution, we thought there’s going to be an end to monkey business in this country, but it seems the Executive is still living in the past,” said Mr Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu, ODM).
Assistant minister Aden Duale added: “All I can tell the Executive is that if they want to reject the proposals guaranteed in the Constitution, we’ll also reject their proposals.”
The IIBRC mandate expires Saturday –90 days after the August 27 promulgation day of the new Constitution. Today is also the deadline for the formation of the Commission on Revenue Allocation and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution.
The IIBRC standoff is in court and even MPs plan to censure Justice Jeanne Gacheche for issuing orders even before they were applied for.