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Live: Kenyan MPs debate Constitution

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – A packed Kenyan Parliament embarked on voting on amendments to the Proposed Constitution. We cover live proceedings of the crucial vote:

6.30 Temporary Speaker Margaret Kamar announces the adjournament of the House. Debate resumes on Thursday at 9.00am.

6.20 Igembe North MP Ntoitha M’Mithiaru moves an amendment to delete the affirmative action that requires the State to prepare legislation to ensure not more than two thirds of elected leaders shall be from one gender.

6.18 Bumula MP Bifwoli Wakoli announces that he has withdrawn his intended amendment after observing that the mood of the House was against any amendment.

6.15 The proposed amendment flops with only 52 MPs present.

6.06 MPs go to division to vote on the amended amendment.

5.50 Attorney General Amos Wako successfully amends Ms Mugo’s proposed amendment to delete the contested clause allowing for an abortion during an emergency and through legislation. The argument in the House is that these can be taken care by an Act of Parliament.

5.05 Public Health Minister Beth Mugo moves an amendment to completely outlaw abortion and delete a provision that allows Parliament to pass legislation to allow abortion.

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5.04 Ms Murugi’s amendment fails the prerequisite 145 MPs support. Only 101 MPs are in the House by the time of the division.

4.30 Gender Minister Esther Murugi moves an amendment to delete clauses referring to abortion in the Proposed Constitution.

4.25 A second attempt to bar security forces from enjoying provisions of the Bill of Rights flops after failing to garner the requisite 145 MPs support. Only 116 MPs are present in the House.

4.19 MPs proceed to division to vote on Mr Nkaissery’s amendment on exempting security forces from the bill of rights.

3.29 MPs approve a procedural Motion requiring them to hold extra ordinary sittings on Thursday morning to give them more time to debate and vote on the amendments to the Proposed Constitution. Prime Minister Raila Odinga urges MPs to think patriotism and not partisan politics.

3.10 Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo moves another procedural Motion to allow the House to hold an extra-ordinary sitting on Thursday morning. The Motion is seconded by Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi and supported by ODM Ministers Mohammed Elmi, Anyang Nyongo as well as some ODM MPs.

However, the mood of the House seems to go against the Motion as many oppose.

3.08 MPs shoot down a procedural Motion that would have extended House sittings from 6.30pm to 11.50 to allow members debate and vote on the intended amendments to the Proposed Constitution.

Backbenchers led by Garsen MP Danson Mungatana said there was no need to extend the sittings since the mood in the House was that members were opposed to any amendments.

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3.01 Government chief whip George Thuo moves a procedural Motion requiring the House to extend its sittings from the usual 6.30pm to 11.50pm. However, some MPs oppose the proposal, among them Danson Mungatana.

2.30 Parliament resumes but MPs first deal with Question Time before resuming debate on the Constitution.

1.30 Mr Musila convenes a press conference outside the chambers and registers his disappointment with fellow MPs who failed to support an amendment that would have ensured state security and guard against insubordination in the armed forces.

1.20 House adjourns until 2:30

1.17 An amendment by Defense Assistant Minister David Musila to bar members of the Disciplined forces (Army, Police, Prison warders) from demonstrating or representation by an advocate flops after only garnering the support of 122 MPs.

Four voted against the amendment while 21 absconded.

12.35 Speaker announces that there are 150 MPs in the chambers and orders a vote on Mr Musila’s proposed amendment.

12.08 Speaker Kenneth Marende announces a hitch in the tally of MPs present in the House. He said the clerks had recorded varying totals of 140, 143 and 146. He orders that the Clerk stands up and calls out the names one by one.

11.50 Speaker orders that the number of MPs in The Chambers be established as Mr Musila’s amendment gets overwhelming support. Unlike the other amendments where members walk out, the MPs remain seated awaiting the outcome of the count.

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11.30 – 11.50 An amendment by Defense Assistant Minister David Musila to bar members of the Discipline forces (Army, Police, Prison warders) from demonstrating or representation by an advocate gets an applause and almost full House support.

11.26 An amendment by Mr Musyimi to delete a section that excuses the application of the Bill of Right for Muslims at the Kadhis court fails as only 60 MP are present when the Speaker calls for division.

11.08 Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya stands and says he has withdrawn 30 of his amendments citing that “the mood of the House was against the amendments.

11.08 An amendment by Tinderet MP fails as he was not in the Chambers.

11.06 An amendment by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi to separate State and Religion flops as only 57 MPs are present

10.59 – Tens of MPs walk out of the chamber in protest of the amendment to separate State and religion after the Speaker declared that the numbers be ascertained to decide whether a division will be carried out.

10.46 Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi moves amendments that State and Religion shall be separate.

10.42 Dozens of MPs troop back to the House after Speaker Kenneth Marende announces that Mr Orengo’s amendment had failed.

10.40 Mr Orengo’s amendment to introduce provinces as the second level of devolution fails as only 107 MPs are present in the House.

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10.10 –10.15: In his opposition to devolution Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri accuses the desire for Majimbo among the ODM as being behind the 2008 post election violence. Chepalungu MP Isack Ruto stands on a point of order to dispute the allegation accusing PNU of “stealing the election” thereby causing the violence.

10.20: An infuriated Gichugu MP Martha Karua stands to accuse Mr Ruto of itiminditing people by killing people in search for power.
Speaker Marende is forced to intervene and orders the three to withdraw their statements which he ruled were unparliamentarily.

10.10 Ugenya MP James Orengo moves an amendment to introduce the provinces as the second level of devolution. Heated debate ensues with equal support and opposition. Orange Democratic Movement MPs voice support while the Party of National Unity legislators insist to oppose the “introduction of Majimbo.”

10.07 – An amendment by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi on Article 4 to ensure a universally applicable Bill of Rights fails to garner the 145 support and is dismissed.

9.55 – Speaker Kenneth Marende rules that every member with an amendment will be given an opportunity to convince fellow colleagues.

9.05 – 9.50 Members argue whether they should debate an amendment when the House at that time does not have the requisite 145 MPs required to pass any amendment.

9.00 – Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim enters the chambers and leads the House into prayer.

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