, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Heckling, walkouts, shouting marches and repeated calls for Order! Order! marked the crucial voting stage on proposed amendments to the Proposed Constitution in Parliament.
People watching the live coverage were treated to comical spectacles as the honourable MPs walked out four times to frustrate the suggested amendments.
Parliamentary staff were kept busy opening and closing the doors to the chamber for the MPs who walked out saying “hii tunauwa na hata hiyo ingine inakuja tutaiangusha,” (We will ‘kill’ this one and even vote against the next one) they were heard shouting.
The honourable chamber of Parliament looked like a market place with shouting, laughing and heckling forcing Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende to intervene minute after minute.
“Order! Order! Order! turned into a chorus and children who are now on holiday must have learnt it by midday.
The ‘consultations’ were too loud. For once, Parliamentary proceedings looked like a political meeting if not a campaign rally or circus for that matter.
The battle pitted MPs from Orange Democratic Movement who supported their own while the Party of National Unity stood by amendments made by its members.
It was notable that all MPs remained fully awake and one may have been excused to imagine that they were discussing a raise in their perks and allowances.
In that session some MPs could also read the minds of others. Lands Minister James Orengo sparked off the mind row when he said that Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi was introducing the Kadhi courts debate when he proposed an amendment to the State and Religion. Mr Musyimi retorted: “Is the honourable member in order to read my mind? He is doing a poor job of it.”
Mr Marende put the matter to rest when he ruled: “The Member for Ugenya… you cannot think for the Gachoka MP! You can only think for yourself as far as I know!”
But in Mr Orengo’s defence: “In my training as a lawyer it is good to know what is in somebody’s mind.”
Gichugu MP Martha Karua raised tempers in Parliament after she lashed out at Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto and accused ODM of being responsible for internally displacing Kenyans.
“Is honourable Isaac Ruto in order now to claim the reverse in Parliament when ODM knows very well it bullied its way to power through killings?” she asked.
Matters threatened to boil over prompting the Speaker to ask the MPs to ‘relax’ and asked Ms Karua to withdraw the word ‘killing’.
Only one amendment at the end of the morning session mustered the requisite 145 MPs for a vote but even then, that is as far as it went.
With the way things were turning out, it was time for some to call it a day.
Ndia MP Robinson Githae was the first to throw in the towel when he withdrew his amendment.
Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya withdrew 30 of his proposed amendments while others like Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey went missing from the chamber when he was supposed to move an amendment.
At some point MPs started shouting ‘withdraw… withdraw’ when members were called by the Speaker to bring their amendments on the floor of the House.
The morning session ended at 1.20pm, with all the amendments that were presented all rejected.