Uhuru-Raila MPs in new attempt to create posts

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 00:00 | By
National Assembly’s Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee chair Jeremiah Kioni. Photo/File

Members of Parliament (MPs) allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have crafted a new plan to create positions of a prime minister, two deputy premiers and two deputy presidents.

In the plan, MPs who sit on the National Assembly’s Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee plan to retreat to Mombasa on Tuesday next week to draft a Bill to create the new positions, which will then be subjected to a national referendum to be held alongside the next General Election set for August 9, 2022.

Seventh ballot

Their move will be seen as the latest attempt to rescue some of the proposals that were contained in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill which was declared unconstitutional by the High Court in a judgment upheld by the Court of Appeal.

“The committee is set to sit in Mombasa starting next Tuesday during which members will deliberate on the proposed constitutional amendments after which it will be published in readiness for tabling (in the National Assembly),” said the committee’s chairman, Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni.

He added: “We want to have the referendum question included as the seventh ballot paper.”

Kioni did not explain what process his committee will follow in passing the Bill since it must undergo public participation before proceeding to the second reading.

The plan to create the new positions in the Executive arm of the government, is likely to create new re-alignments within the political class ahead of next year’s elections as it gives the bigwigs room for political power-sharing deals.

Picked from parliament 

Those likely to benefit from such an arrangement include several politicians who have already declared their intention to gun for the presidency, including ODM leader Raila, Amani National Congress (ANC) chief Musalia Mudavadi, his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka, former cabinet minister Mukhisa Kituyi and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana.

Also likely to benefit from such an arrangement are a host of second-term governors among them Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a) and Kisii’s James Ongwae, among others.

Speaking to People Daily yesterday, Kioni revealed that a raft of other Bills to amend the Constitution are awaiting approval by Parliament and hoped that MPs will pass them before end of the year.

Among the bills before the National Assembly is the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 40 of 2020) which seeks to have the President appoint his Cabinet from MPs.

The Bill, sponsored by West Mugirango MP Vincent Kemosi, seeks to have cabinet ministers, currently known as Cabinet Secretaries, picked from among elected MPs as opposed to the current situation where they are drawn from non-parliamentarians but have to be vetted and approved by the National Assembly.

It also seeks to allow governors to appoint Members of County Assembly (MCAs) to their cabinet.

It is, however, one of the seven Bills whose fate lies with National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi who is expected to rule on their constitutionality in light of the Court of Appeal judgment on the BBI process.

Kioni at the same time dismissed a section of politicians from Mount Kenya region who have declared their intentions to revive some of the proposals in the BBI, questioning their sincerity after having led in the fall of the process.

“Some of those now claiming to reintroduce the BBI proposals were key in fighting its success. How can they be trusted to lead the same,?” posed Kioni in reference to Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who have convened a meeting of Mt Kenya leaders on Monday next week to explore ways of rescuing some of the proposals in the BBI Bill, among them creation of new constituencies and the resource allocation based on population instead of land mass.

Kioni’s committee has also published another Bill which seeks to amend Article 90 to allow political parties to nominate to the National Assembly and the Senate, presidential and deputy presidential candidates.

The Bill also seeks to have the Attorney-General perform functions of a Cabinet Secretary as assigned by the President.

The implication of the proposed amendments is that they would touch on the oversight role of Parliament since Cabinet Secretaries will now sit in the House.

Civic education

The judges said that some clauses could not be amended without conducting civic education, public participation debates on legislative assemblies and referendum.

“The basic structure principle is applicable to Kenya, and it limits the power to amend the Constitution as provided in Article 255 of the Constitution.

The basic structure can only be amended by following the four sequential orders before a referendum,” Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga ruled.

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale maintains that the Bills offend the spirit of the judgment.

MPs, mainly those allied to Deputy President William Ruto, want all the Bills relating to the BBI campaign suspended. They have petitioned Speaker Muturi to suspend the Bills.

Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua’s Bill seeks to change timelines of nomination to Parliament.

Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei on her part seeks to increase the number of women elected to Parliament from 47 to 136 while Ndia MP George Kariuki has sponsored an amendment for Kenyans in the diaspora to be classified as a special interest group to be catered for in the party nomination lists.

Muturi is expected to make a ruling on whether the House and committees should continue considering the Bills based on their current status in the National Assembly when the House resume on September 28.

More on News