Khalwale throws spanner in Matemu’s vote

December 21, 2011 8:54 am


Khalwale participates in a bull-fighting event/File
NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 20 – The Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende was scheduled to rule on Wednesday afternoon on the legality of the controversial vote by Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim that saw Mumo Matemu approved by Parliament to lead the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The matter was revisited by Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale, on Wednesday morning, who argued that it was wrong for the Deputy Speaker to vote on the matter before resolving a tie on the vote.

Marende also assured the legislators that the graft nominees would not be forwarded to the President and Prime Minister for appointment before the House resolves the issue.

Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch had raised the red flag over the issue saying that the three nominees could be appointed before the Speaker determines the way forward.

“Was it procedural, had he voted and then it created a tie, who would have broken the tie?” Khalwale posed.

Maalim however maintained that he was well within its right citing Standing Order 64.

“Whenever there’s an inequality of any sort on questions not requiring a special majority the Speaker, including any other member in the Chair, shall have a casting vote so acquaint yourself with those basic laws,” he countered.

MPs approved the nomination of Matemu Tuesday evening to head the EACC by a margin of one vote.

Jane Kerubo Onsongo and Irene Cheptoo Keino will serve as commissioners after appointment by President Mwai Kibaki.

The vote followed two days of heated debate that was characterised by claims that the trio were not fit to serve in the commission as they lacked passion.

The executive managed to lobby 50 MPs to reject the recommendation by the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs to refer the nominees back to the principals.

Forty nine MPs supported the committees report. The Ayes had won the first round of the vote, usually carried out through acclamation prompting the executive to push for a vote through secret ballot.

Assistant Minister Kabando Wa Kabando who was opposed to the list was kicked out of the House before the vote because of misconduct.

Khalwale took Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim to task immediately after the vote claiming he had cast his ballot late.

“I have a conscience and that’s why I have voted on my own volition as the MP for Lagdera,” said Maalim.

The House had to extend its sittings to facilitate the vote.

The House committee had recommended for his rejection due to what they termed as ‘lack of drive, passion and interest to chair the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.’

In closing submission to the House, Committee Vice Chairman Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri) stated that; “The rejection of this report will be unfortunate and will be the real test as to whether this House has the will to fight corruption. The worst thing that this Parliament can do is to show that its objective is not to fight corruption but other considerations.”

Even allegations that he had failed to collect Sh2.4 billion in taxes did not stop the executive from rallying MPs to support Matemu.

Gitobu Imanyara (Imenti Central) told his colleagues in the House that Matemu was at the heart of the clique that ran down the Agricultural Finance Corporation through collusion with shady businessmen.

“Businessmen of Asian descent would apply for loans of between Sh18 million and Sh24 million from the AFC, and then, all these loans would be written off and these loans amounted to over Sh5 billion,” Imanyara said.

Parliamentary business on Wednesday morning was also adjourned after a brief one hour session. This was after the legislators declined to give time to the government to transact its business.

They accused the Executive of contempt saying it had no respect for the House.


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