President Uhuru, Raila praise MPs for job well done
President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday thanked pro-Handshake MPs for passing the proposed law on political parties.
Speaking during a luncheon at State House, Nairobi, Uhuru and Raila praised the lawmakers following the passage of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act and asked senators to endorse the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2021 currently before the Upper House.
The meeting at State House Nairobi, which had both senators and National Assembly members drawn from all the parties supporting the Handshake, came at a time the Senate is considering the Bill which was acrimoniously passed by the National Assembly last week.
In his address to the lawmakers, President Kenyatta called on politicians to work together with a view to improving the lives of all Kenyans, saying he will continue engaging with all leaders, irrespective of their political persuasion, to ensure Kenya becomes a strong and united nation.
On the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, the Kenyatta said the law is aimed at improving the country’s governance system and regretted that some leaders were demonising the amendment for short-term political gain.
Work in progress
“Some people have tried to demonise political parties amendment as they demonised BBI.
This Bill is giving us an opportunity to be able to formally work together across political parties in the interest of the nation,” the President said.
He urged the Senate to emulate the National Assembly in passing the Bill and other laws before them to ensure the country attains its development goals.
“I hope and pray that this spirit we have started with, we shall be able to carry on with it through untill elections are over and for us to be able to bequeath again a new administration peace, togetherness and a focus on the issues that affect the people of this Republic,” the President said.
“Let me say how wonderful it is to be with you at the beginning of the year and be able to share a meal.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the commitment you’ve shown, especially by those of you from the National Assembly during this holiday period.
“The passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Bill, for example, will ensure that we are able to continue being part of the international financial system, and to have a respected banking system that can only help improve and mature our economy,” he said.
Raila urged the Senate to emulate the National Assembly and pass the Bill for the benefit of all Kenyans.
He said constitutional making is a work in progress, noting that Kenyans desire laws that will ensure good governance.
“Law and Constitution-making are always work in progress. Even the old age constitution, the democratic constitution of Unites States of America, is still a work in progress, and they have several amendments, which they always put to use the Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment and so on and so forth.
“So, it is not a crime for somebody to see something is wrong in our constitution or in our law that we need to change because it always makes things better.
“They say that a good idea always yields to a better idea, and a better idea would yield to the best idea.
What you are doing is trying to improve governance in our country. So we really want to thank you very, very sincerely for what you did,” said Raila.
While some lawmakers remained tight-lipped on the happenings at State House, some told People Daily that the Handshake leaders had kept off politics for fear of having “moles” in the group.
Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati disclosed that the Head of State asked them to help communities live in harmony.
“The President took time to appreciate the work that has been done by the members and asked us to preach unity, protect the unity and help communities to live in unity. He wants to leave a united country as his major legacy,” said Arati.
Makueni MP Dan Maanzo said the meeting was meant to thank the pro Handshake team that voted for the parties Bill.
“The President did not have much to say other than thanking us for supporting the government agenda in the House. He kept off politics completely,” Maanzo said.
Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni, who chairs the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC), said the President expressed the need for the team to work in harmony to move forward the government agenda.
“The Head of State used the occasion to implore us to work as a team so as to move the government agenda in Parliament without hitches.
It is an important year politically and he (President) used the opportunity to rally members to support his government,” Kioni added.
President Kenyatta first met the House leadership in a closed-door meeting for some minutes before addressing the more than 200 legislators present.
In what now appears to be a divided One Kenya Alliance (OKA), President Kenyatta and Raila invited lawmakers from Amani National Congress (ANC), Wiper, Kanu and Ford Kenya.
ANC lawmakers Ayub Savula (Lugari), Oku Kaunya (Teso North), Peter Nabulindo (Matungu), Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Chris Aseka (Kwisero), Kassim Tandaza (Matuga) and Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated) attended.
Those absent from the ANC side were Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Ernest Ogesi (Vihiga), Tindi Mwale (Butere), Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, his Vihiga counterpart George Khaniri and Vihiga County representative Beatrice Adagala.
It also emerged that OKA principals Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) were invited yesterday morning but none showed up.
Mudavadi he got the invitation late at a time when he had already planned other activities for Thursday.
“I received an invite after I read in the press about the luncheon. However, I had already committed myself elsewhere,” said Mudavadi.