Rancorous House is bad for the country

Tuesday September 12 2017

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The official opening of the 12th Parliament started on a negative note.

Although President Uhuru Kenyatta performed his constitutional duty and addressed the first session, the boycott by the National Super Alliance MPs cast a dark shadow over what should have been a solemn and gracious occasion.

We had said before that Parliament is not the right arena for political supremacy wars; that the House has its rules and traditions besides the constitutional requirements that it must abide by.

But politicians tend to think differently; for them, scoring political mileage is always more profound than doing the right thing.

We emphasise that Parliament and other constitutional institutions must be respected and spared impulsive and divisive politics.

Unfortunately, it seems that this Parliament will be acrimonious as MPs have defined the corners from where they seek to fight, irrespective of the issue on the table.

Its predecessor had some nasty and ignoble sessions, when MPs threw caution to the wind and did some most unthinkable things to push parochial party and ethnic interests. Signs are, this one could be worse.

Ordinarily, our politics is highly polarised but the outcomes of the August 8 presidential election, whose result was nullified by the Supreme Court, worsened matters.

President Kenyatta is deeply aggrieved and has repeatedly declared, even in his address to Parliament, that the Supreme Court wrongly vetoed his victory.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga, his main challenger, is even more angered that his electoral triumph was vanquished by individuals at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.


Precisely, he has emphatically stated that he would not go the polls on October 17 without a fundamental shake-up at the IEBC.

The underlying challenge is electoral justice.

To the extent that an election is not properly and honestly conducted—or contestants and voters doubt its integrity—the outcome becomes the subject of permanent contests and those declared winners thrust into a perpetual search for legitimacy.
The repeat election must resolve this conundrum.