, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi survived a censure motion Tuesday evening as widely expected, with majority of MPs defending his work.
Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba had moved the motion of censure against the Speaker on the grounds that he uses demeaning language against members of the August House, citing some examples.
“On the 11th February, the Speaker said ‘who is that walking, I will not listen to anyone, sit down… This is not a market place…this is not a public rally… who is this Honourable member with a bald head?” Musimba read out some instances to support his motion.
He added: “If this is not washed out what hope do we have? We don’t want an angel to seat in the seat of the Speaker but we want someone who can respect others.”
Leader of the Majority Coalition Aden Duale however led members of the Jubilee Coalition in opposing the motion saying Muturi is forced to use ‘forceful language’ due to the inappropriate conduct of the MPs.
Other members claimed the motion was malicious, lacked substance and fell short of proving contempt as had been claimed.
“The motion is meant to injure the reputation of the Speaker. When we put the Speaker on the chopping board who are we killing? This motion has been brought in bad faith and it should fail,” said Meru County Woman Representative Florence Kajuju.
Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo and Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba urged the House against squandering the moment and handle it with sobriety.
“This is not a motion where people vote, this country and House is at crossroads the best we can do is listen to each other,” Namwamba said.
Midiwo added: “I think it is incumbent upon us to point out our mistakes as we move forward.”
Only Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), Silverse Anami (Shinyalu), Opiyo Wandai (Ugunja) and John Mbadi (Suba) supported the motion saying Muturi not only uses demeaning language but is partisan in his decisions.
The MPs were however in agreement that the matter could have been better addressed through a Speaker’s Kamukunji, (an informal sitting called by the speaker for members to raise concerns they would want the house leadership to address).
The legislators noted that the Motion ‘comes at a time when the House integrity is at an all-time low’ when MPs are accused of taking bribes to alter committee reports while others are reported to have been involved in sexual assaults incidents.
The historic sitting began at 2.30pm as usual with the House Speaker Muturi leading the Speaker’s procession led by the mace into the Chamber where he led the House in prayer and the House business listed on the order paper.
At 2.54pm Muturi vacated the chair and Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso took over in accordance with Standing Orders which does not allow the Speaker to be judge over a matter he is adversely mentioned. Muturi bowed to Laboso who was now sitting on the Speaker’s chair before exiting the House for his office where he followed the proceedings.
Laboso took over the sitting and began by giving guidelines before allowing debate on the censure motion to be brought.
The deputy speaker told the MPs to restrict themselves to the substance of the motion and give specifics of the allegation emphasising that the members would be required to substantiate their claims.
She further clarified that the motion before the House was not one seeking the removal of the Speaker
The motion almost degenerated into a scorecard contest between Muturi and his predecessor Kenneth Marende when Majority Leader Aden Duale took on Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo’s claims that the former was a better listener.
Gumbo who seconded the motion had stated that Speaker Marende maintained cohesiveness during his tenure as the head of the Tenth Parliament because he avoided polarising the House and instead ‘made rulings which were likened to those of King Solomon.’
But Duale who served in the Tenth Parliament dismissed this claim saying Marende never made landmark rulings saying the so called ‘Solomonic Ruling’ was a creation of the media. He went on to state that he was among MPs who had mooted a vote of no confidence motion in Marende on integrity issues.
“Muturi may not be the best public speaker around but he was the chairperson of Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC), he is a politician, he is human, effective leadership is not about public speaking. I can attest that Muturi has brought reforms,” the House Majority Leader stated before the Deputy Speaker reminded that the motion was not about Marende’s conduct.