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Parliament goes on recess

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Parliament has adjourned sine die (indefinitely) without completing business that necessitated its early recall in January.

The House went on recess on Tuesday without passing laws to allow for the establishment of a Special Tribunal to try post elections violence suspects, and constituting an Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) to replace the disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya.

MPs unanimously voted an adjournment motion moved by the Leader of Government Business in Parliament Kalonzo Musyoka saying they needed a break before the start of the Third session of Parliament in mid-March.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara however opposed the adjournment arguing that Parliament had not finished its crucial reform agenda, which was to be concluded by March.

“If we were serious the least we could have done is ensure that we pass the names of persons to be appointed to the new electoral body,” Mr Imanyara told fellow legislators.

“This Parliament has failed to offer the country leadership and is a grand failure,” he exclaimed.

MPs a fortnight ago rejected a plan to establish a special court to try suspected perpetrators of the 2008 post-election violence by voting against a Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking to alter the constitution to create the court.

Parliament also rejected a list of IIEC nominees last Thursday after MPs expressed reservations on the inclusion of some of the members, especially the proposed chairman Cecil Miller.

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President Mwai Kibaki is now expected to prorogue the House as is customary, a move that will end the Second Session of the 10th Parliament.

The Third Session of Parliament will see new standing orders come into place. In the new rules, time will be allocated every Wednesday for Prime Minister Raila Odinga to field questions from MPs.

Under the proposed rules, the Speaker of the National Assembly will interrupt the business of the House for 45 minutes for the PM’s time.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Odinga said; “I will use the time very productively to let Kenyans know what is happening in government. This will promote transparency and accountability.”

Other rules will be the provision for MPs to recall Parliament during recess to discuss a matter of national importance, voting through secret ballot during a division and the continuation of debate from the point left before recess.

Allowing matters before the courts to be discussed in the House and security checks for all members would also be enforced.

With the introduction of live broadcasts of Parliamentary sessions, a new committee known as the Parliamentary Broadcast Committee, would be established.

More than 20 bills were passed during the Second Session of Parliament, which began in March.

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