MPs go on recess amid Finance Bill row

December 22, 2011 8:56 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 21- Members of Parliament on Wednesday afternoon indefinitely adjourned their proceedings after a heated debate that saw them go beyond the normal parliamentary timelines.

The House was however divided over whether or not to break with several MPs saying that they should not go on recess until the Finance Bill was tabled.

During the heated debate, which was kicked off by Deputy Leader of Government Business Amos Kimunya, the MPs accused the Executive of colluding with private banks to fleece Kenyans.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua opposed the motion claiming that the government was afraid of tabling the Finance Bill because MPs want to amend it and put a ceiling on the interests charged by banks.

“It is irresponsible of this Parliament to go home and leave Kenyans with the threat of losing their hard earned homes and shelter because of interest rates. It is wrong to go home and leave Kenyans at the mercy of cartels,” she protested.

The afternoon session also saw Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo accuse the Executive of trying to arm twist MPs into supporting the controversial Bill.

“We must put our foot down as a Parliament and put Kenyans first. The reason why this government has refused to bring the Finance Bill before the House is simply because we want to regulate the banks,” he said.

However, the motion received overwhelming support from several Cabinet ministers including Uhuru Kenyatta (Finance), Mutula Kilonzo (Justice), Sam Ongeri (Education), Noah Wekesa (Forestry and Wildlife), Yusuf Hajj (Defense) and Naomi Shaban (Special Programs) as well as Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni.

Mr Kenyatta called for soberness among the MPs saying there was need for the legislators to engage the Executive in a different forum other than the House.

“Let us use this break to engage ourselves in a much more level headed manner because I think the interests of this House are Kenyans and I have no doubt we will find a solution,” he said.

Although Kenyatta was supported by his Cabinet colleagues, they challenged him to reach out to the legislators and hear them out over their concerns with the Finance Bill.

Ongeri urged the legislators to take the break to mingle with their respective constituents, before the results of the 2011 Kenya Certificate Primary Education (KCPE) are released.

Although the MPs were also urged not to politicise the issue, Gwasi’s John Mbadi maintained that the government had failed in its mandate of protecting Kenyans Kenyans.

His sentiments were echoed by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara who said that the government had taken a back seat instead of protecting Kenyans from the current inflation rates.

“The government is behaving as if they are the employee of the private banks. Uhuru should have called us to a Kamukunji so that we can reason out but he didn’t and that it is a betrayal of the highest order,” he said.

On Tuesday MPs defied efforts by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to resolve the stalemate surrounding the fate of the Finance Bill maintaining that they would shoot it down if it was tabled in Parliament without the proposed amendments.

The MPs told off the Executive over the current inflation rates in the country arguing that the said amendments would help stabilise such incidents in future.

Although MPs insist on having the amendments in the Bill, the Finance Minister maintains that they should be introduced in the form of a substantive motion and must not be included in the Bill.

The Finance Bill was also dragged into the debate on the adjournment motion.


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