, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – The last time they resorted to jeering and shouting at their counterparts on the other side of the aisle in the August House to express their displeasure at security legislation which they said would take Kenya, “back to the dark dictatorial days.”
All they managed to walk away with though – barefoot – were torn pieces of clothing and bitten fingers.
Having lost out to what they’ve often referred to as the, “tyranny of numbers,” of the ruling coalition in the House, the opposition legislators and their party leaders, took their grievances to court.
This time – following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assent to the Statute Miscellaneous Amendment Act No. 2 of 2015 – they swore up and down on Tuesday that they would not roll over without a fight either.
Flanking their Coalition for Reforms and Democracy co-principals Raila Odinga and Moses Wetangula, the legislators who included Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, took issue with the amendments in the Miscellaneous Act that give the President greater say on who becomes Chief Justice and over the National Police Service.
“You may recall the events of December 18, 2014 when there was pandemonium in the House following the process of bringing Bills that were against the Constitution,” Wetangula recollected. “You may also recall that we went to court and most of those offending clauses were declared unconstitutional.”
“We are on our way to court,” Wetangula pledged “over the amendments touching on the appointment of the Chief Justice, the Police and the destruction of the Office of the Auditor General.”
The Bungoma Senator lauded the Law Society of Kenya for expressing their intent to challenge the amendments in court and exuded confidence that there, the tyranny of numbers would hold no sway.
At what was labelled a “New Year State of the Nation Address,” Odinga renewed his calls for dialogue with President Kenyatta over the Constitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in whose Commissioners he lost confidence following his 2013 loss of the Presidency.
“My brother, you must know that the IEBC has a serious legitimacy deficit. This country must not and cannot risk another election that does not enjoy the confidence of all parties,” he stressed.
The last time Odinga called for a National Dialogue Conference that would include the future of IEBC on the agenda, he was laughed off by Jubilee legislators whom he referred to on Tuesday as “dogs” whom he would not engage, favouring their “master” instead.
Odinga’s renewed calls for the reconstitution of the IEBC follow an assurance from IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan in December that they had developed a “working relationship,” with CORD ahead of the 2017 General Election.