Stage set for another duel over Political Parties Bill debate
Face-off between lawmakers allied to Handshake and Deputy President William Ruto allies has made its way into the New Year as the MPs meet on Wednesday to continue debate on the contentious Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Last week, the MPs could not finish the debate following protracted battles between the two sides that dragged business into the night.
Session was interrupted several times as members squared out physically on the floor.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi was one of the casualties after he was ejected for roughing up Sigowet Soin MP Kipsengeret Koros.
Only six clauses out of the 23 were dispensed with, prompting Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya to seek another Special Sitting, which is yet to be gazetted by Speaker Justin Muturi.
“This business must be dispensed off. I have already written to the Speaker seeking Special Sittings on January 5, 6, and 7,” Kimunya said last week.
But even as the Kipipiri MP pushes for the disputed Bill to be passed, the United Democratic Alliance team has vowed to continue from where they left should they be called for another sitting.
Ruto has asked his allies to reject the Bill if amendments proposed last week are not effected.
The DP said sections of the Bill, if not removed, will transfer the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to the Registrar of Political Parties.
Ruto said legislators allied to UDA are at least 160, enough to defeat the Bill, which he noted will create an imperial Registrar of Political Parties that will control how parties conduct nominations.
“Political parties are independent and free to conduct their nomination exercises. Let us stop creating an imperial Registrar of Political Parties on Kenyans,” Ruto said.
He said the Bill was brought to Parliament by what he described as “a notorious political party that has been luring small outfit into coalitions in the past before defrauding them”.
One of the contentious amendments will be that proposed by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa that seeks to protect members from being expelled from a party unheard.
“A political party shall, before expelling a member under subsection (1)— notify the member, in writing of the provisions allegedly contravened and the particulars of any conduct related to the contravention,” the amendment.
Also, the party must inform the member of his or her right to appear and be heard before the relevant party organ, either in person or through a legal representative.
The member should also be afforded an opportunity to be heard within a period of not less than 90 days from the date of the notice.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany has proposed an amendment, which is likely to raise a storm from the Handshake side, as he wants the new law, if passed, to be operationalised after the August elections.