Committee in race against time to resolve EALA nominees impasse

June 14, 2017 12:08 pm
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Kennedy Kalonzo’s nomination is the cause of disagreement/FRANCIS MBATHA

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) will be forced to nominate seven more persons to their current list of four candidates seeking to sit in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), if MPs agree with a joint Parliamentary Select Committee recommendation to delete a clause that will remove ambiguity in the number of persons to be nominated.

Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the Election of Members to East African Legislative Assembly Co-Chairman Katoo ole Metito said they are hopeful that the House will agree to delete the provision contained in Rule 6(1) of the regional Parliament laws when it comes up for a vote on Thursday.

The committee met well into the night on Tuesday in order to ensure they are able to submit the report to the House during Wednesday morning’s sitting.

“We are hoping that between today and Thursday we’ll have done and dealt with that amendment,” the Majority Whip stated.

He further said they’ll also be seeking to persuade MPs to defer their anticipated recess from Thursday in order to allow the election of the regional MPs to take place on Tuesday next week.

“We will present to the two Houses two options. One, either we amend our calendar instead of adjourning indefinitely on Thursday we wait a bit longer and adjourn on Tuesday, so that we do the election process on Tuesday because we don’t want to hold the entire East African Community (EAC) at ransom.”

“Option number two is we deal with the amendment of the rule between now and Thursday, and maybe go for a break for a week and get recalled by the Speakers of the two Houses for a special sitting to come and deal with election,” he explained.

Metito told parliamentary journalists that the committee had unanimously agreed to delete the contentious clause to resolve the stalemate that is threatening to paralyse operations of the regional Parliament.

“We have resolved to fast-track that process, instead of letting another House to do it, let’s do it as the Eleventh Parliament, so what we are proposing to the two Houses is to agree with the Committee in amending that Rule 6(1) to say that a political party shall nominated three times its allocation, no option for a minimum again. And so with that clarity CORD will have to send requisite 12 names,” Metito said.

If approved by both Houses, it will mean that Jubilee MPs and a section of ODM lawmakers who had complained about the decision by CORD to name five candidates for election into the Opposition’s four slots will now have a chance to exercise their freedom.

The Jubilee Coalition had submitted a list of 15 names for the five slots allocated to the ruling party.

In its report which was adopted by MPs in both Houses, the Joint House team observed that under the EALA Election Rules, a party shall be entitled to nominate for election any number of candidates not exceeding three times the figure arrived at by multiplying the number of elected Members of Parliament of that party.

The committee based its decision on another decision by the East African Court of Justice in a case filed by Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o in 2006.

It resolved that it was important, from its reading of the rules and the Treaty, to allow MPs conduct an election as required and have the opportunity to ensure “fair representation of the various shades of opinion, regional balance, gender and other special interest groups.”

However, on Monday last week, Minority Whip Thomas Mwadeghu told the Nomination Panel chaired by House Clerks Jeremiah Nyegenye (Senate) and Michael Sialai (National Assembly) that his Coalition will not comply with the House resolution and would stick with the four names it had presented.

CORD has presented the names of Judith Pareno, Abubakar Zein and Ronald Ng’eny who will be seeking to renew their terms with Kennedy Musyoka, the son of NASA running mate Kalonzo Musyoka making the list. FORD-Kenya later submitted the name of Carolyne Alouch as its nominee even though it is recognised as a parliamentary party.

Outgoing EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega was forced to postpone the inauguration of the 4th Assembly initially set for June 5 because it will contravene the EALA Rules of Procedure which bar the Assembly from transacting business in the absence of at least four MPs from each the six East African Community partner States.

Kenya is the only partner State that has not submitted the names of its new members for the Assembly.

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