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Stalemate grips House team over seats

Thursday, January 27th, 2022 00:09 | By
Kenyan Parliament. PHOTO/Courtesy

A fresh row awaits MPs when they resume sitting next Tuesday to approve membership of the powerful House Business Committee.

This is after the Majority side decided to retain the same list of members which had been rejected on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Speaker Justin Muturi allowed Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Amos Kimunya to reintroduce the motion on February 1, 2022 to allow Parliament to kick off its business, even as he downplayed the effects of Tuesday’s rejection of the initial list.

Muturi charged that under the Standing Orders, the House can still reconvene with a new motion to rescind the verdict of the earlier one that rejected the list, mainly comprising MPs allied to the Azimio La Umoja political outfit which is supporting ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bid in the August election.

The list comprises MPs Joyce Emanikor, Shadrack Mose, Kawira Mwangaza, Mohamed Abdikhaim Osman, Makali Mulu, Mishi Mboko and Godfrey Osotsi.

The committee is tasked with setting the agenda of Parliament including giving priority to motions in order of their precedence.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event to launch a strategic plan for the office of the Auditor-General, Muturi maintained that contrary to reports that Parliament was technically dissolved, it is still in session.

He said there was no way the House would have had a sitting yesterday because the Standing Orders require the Clerk of the National Assembly to publish the notice at least 12 hours before the House convenes.

“In view of the provisions of Standing Order 38(2) requiring the Clerk to publish an Order Paper for any Sitting at least 12 hours before the particular sitting and having just received the full list of nominees for appointment to the HBC from the leadership of the majority party and the minority party, I have instructed the Clerk to publish the Order Paper for the next sitting of the House on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 2.30pm pursuant to Standing Order 38,” read a statement Muturi issued later in the day. 

The People Daily established that the same list will be introduced this afternoon contrary to the Standing Orders which dictate that in a situation where a motion is defeated, the same cannot be reintroduced until after at least six months.

Adjourned
Asked why the requirement was overlooked, Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai insisted that the motion was in order and that the same list can be reintroduced provided the leadership agreed.

UDA allied members, however, warned that they will shoot down the motion again if the same list of members is tabled.

“The Standing Orders are clear that you cannot bring the same list of names in a motion which had been defeated. This is the impunity the Leader of Majority has been exhibiting. We will shoot down the motion again today if the same names are brought,” warned Sirisia MP John Waluke.

The National Assembly was thrown into a crisis on Tuesday after members of the United Democratic Alliance teamed up with their ANC and Ford Kenya colleaguesshot down a motion seeking to approve members of the HBC.

Muturi adjourned the House indefinitely after majority of members present voted against the list of names to sit in the committee, which is critical in formulating the business of the House.

Yesterday, Sialai said Kimunya and his colleague on the Minority side, Suba South MP John Mbadi had approached the Speaker seeking his permission to reintroduce the motion.

“The Speaker promptly invoked Standing order 49 which gives him powers to allow a motion to be reintroduced,” Sialai said.

He added that the House would have been reconvened yesterday but the request was made late.

“We needed time to print the motion and since it came in late, we had no option but to push the meeting to next week,” he explained.

Standing Order number 49 reads that “No Motion may be moved which is the same in substance as any question which has been resolved (either in the affirmative or in the negative) during the preceding six months in the same session”. “(2) Despite paragraph (1) — (a) a Motion to rescind the decision on such a question may be moved with the permission of the Speaker.”

The implication of Tuesday’s move is that the National Assembly cannot transact any business in the next six months. It is the first time that Parliament is finding itself in such a moment.

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