MPs block names to Constitution committee

September 30, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 30 – The Implementation of the new Constitution has suffered a major setback after Members of Parliament sharply disagreed on the crucial Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee citing lack of consultations.

Differences within the Party of National Unity (PNU) on Thursday stalled debate on a list tabled by the Leader of Government Business Kalonzo Musyoka and forced Parliament to adjourn to allow further consultations.

Backbench party MPs forced the adjournment after claiming that requisite consultations were not done.

The aggrieved legislators accused the PNU coalition whip Johnson Muthama of forcing a list on them.

"Is it in order for them to claim consultations were done whereas I have an SMS inviting me for a meeting tomorrow (Friday) to consult?" wondered Bumula MP Bifwoli Wakoli.

Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Njeru Githae fired back at his fellow party members and accused them of being perennial complainers.

"As PNU we have a problem… when our leaders make decision the members usually don\’t accept those decisions," he said.

Kikuyu MP Lewis Nguyai however challenged this and said: "Can the Minister clarify whether we worked in consultations or which leader decided on the list?"

The party\’s two Vice Chairmen clashed on the matter giving conflicting reports on the state of consultations. Jamleck Kamau fired the first salvo claiming that no consultations had been made.

"Because I don\’t see my chairman here as the vice chairman, I am the senior most member of PNU here and I was not consulted by anybody," he said.

First Vice Chairman Chirau Ali Mwakwere however said: "I am the first national vice chairman and I would like to confirm that there were thorough consultations."

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula (of PNU affiliate Ford Kenya) moved the adjournment Motion as it became apparent that there was disagreement in the House. He proposed that the House adjourn and allow PNU to consult over the issue.

"It is wrong for my colleagues in PNU to say they were thorough, deep and wide consultation when they were none. We have sworn to be dignified in this House, and I want to urge that we remain dignified," he said.

The committee is crucial as it will oversee the implementation of the new Constitution including scrutinising bills and vetting members to key commissions.

The disagreement stalled the tabling of two crucial Bills for the implementation of the new Constitution which were also to be introduced in Parliament on Thursday. The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution and the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Bills were to be brought to the House by Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo.

Mr Kilonzo backed the adjournment Motion to bring a re-negotiated list.

"It seems to me that this proceedings of this afternoon are not taking cognisance of the fact that this is the first time after the promulgation for this House to be charged with the responsibility on seeking to implement the Constitution and the country is watching if we start on the wrong foot we remain on the wrong foot," he said.


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