National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has suspended a proposed law on exploration of oil.
Mr Duale said he stopped the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill on Wednesday evening after realising that the Energy Committee was changing too many clauses in the bill he has sponsored on behalf of the government.
He said he had been monitoring the bill’s progress when he realised that Energy Committee vice-chairman Robert Pukose was making changes that had not been published in the Order Paper.
The committee had proposed amendments to more than 50 clauses in the bill and introduced a new part.
“The vice-chair was moving new clauses; I had to sit with the research team in my office and was asking what these new clauses are that were not in the Order Paper,” Mr Duale, who was backed by Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya, said.
With other MPs agreeing with the request by Mr Duale, Turkana South MP James Lomenen and his North Horr counterpart Chachu Ganya were not happy.
“You have not convinced us. Who is cancelling? The House is in the process of dealing with this bill. May be there are people who have interests in this bill and we will not allow that,” Mr Lomenen said.
Mr Lomenen was among the handful of MPs working on the bill, which sets the percentages of revenue from oil to be shared amongst the county and the communities where the oil is found.
“I don’t really understand what is really happening. What we are observing this afternoon, I have never observed it in the six years I have been in this House,” he said as he protested at Mr Duale’s intervention yet there was still time to process the proposed changes.
On his part, Mr Kimunya said that the bill had been changed so much that the original had lost its form.
“Wars have been fought in petroleum-producing countries because of these issues and we don’t want to put Kenya in line with other countries where people are fighting because they can’t agree, even on legislation,” he added.