, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 9 – The Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende has directed that Deputy Prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta explain their absence in the House during the Prime Minister’s Time on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Marende gave the ruling after the two, who are supposed to deputise for the PM in his absence, failed to show up to address Parliament during the weekly slot.
“I will be expecting that the two Deputy PMs will have an explanation to offer to the House when they show up as to why they were not here this afternoon. This House does not operate on presumptions, this House operates on the basis of law as set out in the Constitution, other statute and the Standing Orders,” he said.
MPs Ekwe Ethuro, Charles Kilonzo, Danson Mungatana and Bonny Khalwale, led the onslaught calling on the Speaker to suspend the deputy premiers from transacting business in the House.
Mr Ethuro told the Speaker that questions to the PM were missing in Parliament’s Order Paper and further pointed out that none of the Deputy PM’s had been seen in the chamber.
But Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode put up a spirited defence for the PM’s Office saying that there were no questions listed in the Order Paper that required his response.
“All those editorial arguments coming from our friends, Mr Speaker would have matured if the question was for the Prime Minister and nobody was here to answer. But Mr Speaker, you and I know that that the Order Paper is what dictates to the House what is going on; Mr Speaker, there is no Standing Order that has been contravened by the PM, so why should we vilify the Office of the PM”, argued Mr Ojode.
But Mungatana said: “From the backbench we have filed questions which have not been reflected ostensibly because the PM is not around we would want to know where the two Deputy Prime Ministers are.”
Defence Assistant Minister Joseph Nkaiserry had earlier suggested that it was not mandatory for the PM to address the House during his time slot.
However, Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo urged the Speaker to act on the incident saying that it would set a bad example.
Making reference to the ongoing fallout between the PM and Rift Valley MPs over his handling of the Mau relocations; the Yatta MP claimed that PM had absented himself from the House because “things were to hot in that office.”
“If this is allowed to continue it will be a tendency of the Office of the PM, refusing or taking leave at his own convenience to avoid this House Mr Speaker,” he said
Mr Odinga left Kenya on Sunday night to attend a meeting in Vienna, Austria before proceeding to the climate change conference currently underway in Copenhagen, Denmark.