, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 – CORD Senators staged a walkout on Tuesday as the Senate approved a Motion to petition the International Criminal Court to conduct Kenyan cases via video link, shorten the calendar, and refer cases to a local tribunal.
During the debate which was dominated by sideshows, CORD lost an attempt to amend the Motion so Kenya does not withdraw from the Rome Statute that establishes the ICC.
The amendment which was moved by Migori Senator Wilfred Machage and seconded by Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar Hassan also provided a light moment in the House after the Senate Speaker initially ruled that the amendment had been approved but changed his decision after Jubilee legislators protested.
CORD questioned the timing of the Motion which they argued is sending a wrong message to The Hague-based court which began hearing crimes against humanity cases levelled against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang on Tuesday.
It took Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki one hour and thirty minutes to move the Motion as Senators James Orengo, Boni Khalwale and Machage requested Speaker Ekwe Ethuro to rule whether the Motion was rightly before the House.
Khalwale wondered if the Motion was sub-judice coming at a time when the ICC cases are in progress. He argued Kenya being a member of the Rome Statute, should wait until the cases are concluded.
The Kakamega Senator argued that the Motion should have had Cabinet approval and it should have been accompanied with a report from the President why it is in the national interest to exit the Rome Statute.
Speaker Ethuro ruled this out of order saying that he cannot interfere with matters of the Cabinet. He declared the House had the authority to discuss any matter so long as it is does not interfere with its proceedings.
There was another 10 minute disruption to Kindiki’s contribution after Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen rose and named Africog Executive Director Gladwell Otieno as the civil society leader who wrote to the ICC judges advising them against referral of the cases back to Kenya.
Siaya Senator James Orengo was next in line, as he demanded the Speaker to explain why he considered the Motion to be “urgent and necessary” which is a parameter in the Standing Orders for the House to be recalled.
Meru Senator Kiraitu Murugi came to the Speaker’s defence and declared that the Standing Orders do not allow a Senator to ask the Speaker for an explanation why he convened the special sitting.
CORD Senators Otieno Kajwang and Orengo said it was against House debating regulations for a member to mention the names of people who cannot defend themselves on the floor of the House.
The Speaker was forced to reduce the time for contribution to 10 minutes from the usual 30 minutes after he expressed concern that members would not have sufficient time to deliberate the issue.
Kindiki’s argument was that the ICC cannot ignore the Senate resolution when it was swayed by the voice of a civil society leader.
“NGOs converted our country’s misery into a money-minting strategy,” says Kindiki. “They cook up stories and bring up fiction we see at ICC.”