Kenyan MPs agree on crucial committee

February 25, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25  – The dispute that paralysed business in Parliament on Wednesday has been unlocked after MPs passed the contentious list of members to the House Business Committee.

The list was passed without amendments.

There was unanimity in the House as lawmakers who adopted hard-line positions the previous day indicated they were putting the interests of the country before party politics.

The list was passed minus the names of Orange Democratic Movement MPs William Ruto, Chachu Ganya and Robert Monda.  It was the exclusion of the three that had paralysed business on Wednesday forcing the House to adjourn prematurely twice “to allow further consultations.”

Also missing in the list was ODM party leader Raila Odinga who opted to be replaced by Secretary General Anyang Nyong’o, giving indication he would not be pursuing the chairmanship of the HBC, leaving it open to Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Unlike on Wednesday, where cross party rivalry was manifested on the floor of the house, MPs on Thursday took turns to tell off Mr Ruto and Mr Odinga for dragging their party wrangles into the House.

Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale set the pace when he appealed to the two leaders – who have fallen out – to use internal party structures to sort out their differences.

“I beg you Mr PM, you are powerful, do not use that the position to discipline us when we disagree with you.”

He continued:  “To William Ruto… however much you are in disagreement with the PM, think about the benefit this House brings to Kenyans when we move; don’t allow New Ford Kenya or PNU to help you. You are strong enough.  Please convene a delegates’ conference to decide who among you is bigger,” he pleaded.

Water and Irrigation Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri said the House could not afford to waste time before being debate on the harmonised draft constitution.

“Those that are offended by this list should also be reminded that they have already made their point you were here yesterday you voted and you made your point you cannot keep making your point each and every other day, he said.

He said that the House should instead focus on building consensus that will see the realisation of a new constitution.

However, an attempt by the Rift Valley MPs to reverse the change and reinstate Mr Ruto in place of Henry Kosgey was nipped in the bud after J.T Nyammo interrupted debate and asked the House Speaker to ask the House to put the matter to vote.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua had earlier urged the offended parties to cite the nominees they were uncomfortable with in order for the House to make the changes.

However, a section of MPs told Capital News that they just wanted to flex their muscles to the PM and others, “we have achieved our goal but might use it in future for other purposes”, said Chachu Ganya who was among those who were replaced.

Sources in the Party of National Unity later confirmed that their decision to support the adjournment of Parliament on Wednesday was to test their voting might in the House.

They said they were satisfied with the outcome and saw no need to prolong the issue any further.

They also claimed that ODM was unhappy with the draft law that was produced in Naivasha and wanted to use the dispute over the list of nominees to the House Business Committee to derail the Constitution Review Process.

A Kanu insider told Capital News that PNU was now ready to lobby for the appointment of VP Kalonzo Musyoka as the leader of Government Business next week.

He said PNU would forge ahead with the constitution reform agenda and was confident the public mood to get a new set of laws would prevail at the referendum planned for July.

It is understood that there was a move to introduce an amendment to include Mr Ruto’s name in the committee but this fell flat.

Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto made several attempts to catch the Speaker eye as required by parliamentary procedure but he did not succeed.


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