MP Mwengi Mutuse wants Presidential candidates allowed to vie for Parliamentary seats
Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse now wants Presidential candidates to be allowed to run for MP seats as was in the previous Constitutional dispensation.
In a memorandum to the National Dialogue Committee, Mutuse says that after elections, Presidential candidates who fail to clinch the top seat are left with no official forum to address issues affecting the country, apart from political rallies.
“One notable is that since the adoption of the new Constitution, Presidential candidates do not simultaneously vie for positions in Parliament. This has resulted in a situation where the leaders of the opposition, who were unsuccessful in the Presidential election, are left without a significant role in the affairs of State and even worse without an official forum other than public rallies to articulate alternative policies, positions and ideas or hold the government in power accountable. This diminishes the roles of the opposition and often has led to calls for extra judicial ways to resolve critical issues affecting the country, arguably, for lack of other fore,” Mutuse states.
“Creating space for the Opposition does not require a constitutional amendment. To address concerns of inclusion of the Opposition, I propose allowing Presidential candidates to also run for membership in the National Assembly. This would enable the genuine leader of the opposition party or coalition to assume leadership positions within the existing structure as the Leader of the Minority Party.”
The legislator proposes that if a Presidential candidate wins both the Presidential and Parliamentary seats, he/she will resign from the Parliamentary seat to concentrate on the Presidency. If he/she fails to clinch the Presidency, the candidate will focus on his/her Parliamentary role.
“In the United States of America, legislators who vie for the Presidency often resign their legislative positions if they succeed. Even those who fail in their Presidential bids typically fount to their legislative roles,” he adds.
Mutuse on Constitutional Amendment
Mutuse says that his proposal does not need a Constitutional amendment but can be easily achieved through legislation in Parliament.
“A Constitutional amendment may therefore not be necessary. Since the Constitution already provides for the Leader of the Minority Party or Coalition, it may be prudent to address the mandate and influence of the Minority leadership through appropriate legislation. In the event of a Minority Government, the Majority Party in Parliament would assume the role of the opposition, and legislation and the Standing Orders of the Houses of Parliament can outline the modalities for such a scenario,” Mutuse says.
The MP says that the adoption of his proposal would ensure inclusivity in leadership for the candidates and political parties who emerge second in a Presidential election.
“Noting that the Constitution of Kenya has borrowed from the US Presidential system, it is reasonable to infer that a purposive reading of our Constitution allows Presidential candidates to vie for President and Member of Parliament simultaneously,” he says.