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History as Kenyan MPs pass Constitution

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Members of Parliament made history on Thursday when they approved the Proposed Constitution via acclamation.

The draft from the Committee of Experts passed without any amendments, despite earlier proposals for numerous amendments which did not sail through the House.

Speaker Kenneth Marende posed the question whether to pass the draft Motion shortly after 9pm. The ayes carried the day in the acclamation vote.

Parliament had extended its sittings from the normal 6.30pm to enable members conclude debate and beat the 30-day deadline set out by the law before the draft moves to the next stage – the Attorney General’s chambers for publication within 30 days.

“Let us pas it and make that big step forward. Am sure later on when you have another occasion to change on these things you will still be able to do it,” said President Mwai Kibaki who was in the House to give impetus to the process.

“Now that we have not been able to make 50 percent to any of the amendment we even if we bring in the reference group we will just be delaying the matte of taking the decision to the people of Kenya,” added Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

“The popular sovereign is the people of Kenya and this is their decision to make and they are able to make. Ours was to give input and members did debate the motion,” said the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee Abdikadir Mohammed.

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Below is how debate was on a day that also saw Parliament hold an unusual sitting in the morning in order to go through a long list of close to two hundred proposed amendments.

None of the amendments however got the requisite support of 145 MPs to pass.

8.40 Kibaki tells MPs to pass the draft.  Says young minds have put together the document which can be amended later if need be.

Says MPs are geared to making a new constitution for Kenya.

8.30 PM Raila Odinga takes to the floor and urges MPs to vote for draft, saying Kenya has come a long way and needs to end the two-decade search.

8.25 Speaker rules simply majority needed to pass draft and 65 percent to reject it.

7.30 MPs begin haggling over whether they need a simple majority or 65 percent to pass draft.

6.40 President Kibaki enters the Chambers as MP for Othaya, accompanied by VP Kalonzo Musyoka and PM Raila Odinga.

6.25 Three amendments to introduce regions and increase counties fail to garner the 145 MPs support.

4.36 MPs Simiyu Esieli, Najib Balala, James Orengo and Kareke Mbiuki withdraw their amendments.

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4.35 Igembe North MP Ntoitha M’Mithiaru withdraws his amendment

4.32 Only 70 MPs are present in the House. The amendment flops.

4.31 Sophia Abdi: We foresee some change. Should we increase the counties to 80 we need to ensure that the women are elected from all these counties.

4.30 Eldoret East MP Margaret Kamar moves an amendment to delete a clause that limits the number of women elected to the Senate to 47, one per county claiming that this could be affected if the House was to increase the counties.

4.28 Ugenya MP James Orengo withdraws two of his amendments outlining expressly the roles of Parliament and the Senate citing the mood of the House.

4.15 A Frustrated House turns to guillotine.An amendment is moved, seconded and immediately subjected to vote without debate.

4.02  Only107 MPs present. Mr Bahari\’s amendment flops.

3.46 Isiolo South MP Abdul Bahari moves an amendment to protect vast constituencies during the redrafting of new boundaries.

3.46 129 MPs present in the House. The amendment flops.

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3.20 debate on the amendment to allow for independent candidates resumes.

3.20 Speaker calls the Motion to extend time. After the response he announces that the Ayes have it. The House to extend to 11.50pm.

3.13 Martha Karua: I support this Motion. We passed a law in this House on this process and we must take up our responsibility.

3.12 Walter Nyambati: I support this Motion. I have some amendments to make and I want to go on record that I made them. So we need to extend time.

3.10 Bonny Khalwale: I oppose. There is nothing wrong with us not being able to complete the amendments. They will just die and lapse.

3.09 Njeru Githae: The solution to this is we pass this Constitution without amendments.

3.04 Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo moves a procedural Motion to extend the sittings of Parliament to 11.50pm.

2.30 Parliament resumes business. MPs first dispensing with Question Time before embarking on final leg of constitutional debate. President Mwai Kibaki expected to attend the afternoon session.

12.30 The House adjourns its sitting to resume at 2.30pm.

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12.20 Only 75 MPs are present in the House. The amendment falls.

12.13 Moses Wetangula: Ordinarily I would not oppose Dr Esieli but I will oppose. Corruption is not a permanent feature I this country, we cannot legislate it in the Constitution like our great grandchildren will behave like we do today.

12.10 Otieno Kajwang: I cannot accept to legislate corruption in the Constitution like it will always be with us.

12.09 Shakeel Shabbir: Corruption has been there since time in memorial. It was there during the time of Adam and Eve; it will be there in the future. We must entrench this commission in the Constitution.

12.08 Esieli  Simiyu moves an amendment to entrench the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission in the Constitution.

12.06 Isaac Ruto withdraws another amendment on land.

12.05 Two amendments by Amos Kimunya and Orwa Ojode are dropped as the two are not in the House to move them.

12.04 66 MPs present and the amendmetn flops.

12.00 Margaret Kamar (Temporary Speaker): let us go for division.

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11.58 Bifoli Wakoli: Madam Speaker, we cannot set the minimum size of land one can own.

11.55 Ekwe Ethuro: The Committee of Experts is setting us against each other. (If) we pass this we are headed for the clash of 2005 that precipitated the defeat of the draft Constitution.

11.52  William Ruto: we are setting the defeat of this draft in the referendum if we do not amend some of these things. We had agreed on most of these amendments in Naivasha as the Parliament Select Committee.

11.50 Isaac Ruto moves an amendment that seeks to delete a provision that requires Parliament to set the maximum size of land an individual can own in Kenya.

11.29 Shakilla Abdalla: I am very passionate on land but given the mood of the House I withdraw my proposed amendment on land.

11.28 Isaac Ruto: This House does not look serious in making any amendment. I withdraw my proposed amendment on land.

11.16 Isaac Ruto moves another amendment on the Land chapter to remove the words ethnicity in this chapter.

11.15 Only 77 MPs are present in the House. The amendment flops.

11.11 Kareke Mbiuki: Mr Speaker the parks are all demarcated and nobody is going to go and touch them. Let them be taken over by the counties.

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11.10 Hassan Noor: There are those arguing that land is emotive but I don’t think that holds. Let this land be managed by the counties that we are devolving power and resources to.

11.09 Adan Duale: Mr Speaker I withdraw and apologize.

11.08 James Kamau: Land issues in this country as is sensitive. We remember we have fought in this country and I don’t think communities are ready to manage our land.

11.07 Speaker: Member for you will have to withdraw that statement because it is unparliamentarily.

11.06 Adan Duale: I represent a community that owns 22 percent of Kenya we must be allowed to manage our land.  Those who do not have land give us a chance to manage our land please shut up!

Debate on the emotive Land Chapter continues.

10.45 William Ruto: The over concentration of power and resource in the Central government has led to abuse especially in areas where it has no idea of the sensitivities involved.

10.42 Bonny Khalwale: Land is very emotive and this will make people who live in areas they were not born insecure.

10.41 Adan Duale: if we are devolving resources then land is a very important resource to be devolved.

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10.40 Isaac Ruto: It is meaningless to have devolution then say all the land is managed from Nairobi by the central government and a new juggernaut called the National Land Commission.

10.40 Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto moves an amendment that Public land shall vest, be held and administered on their behalf by the county government.

10.39 There are only 77 MPs in the Chambers, Ole Metito’s amendment fails.

10.34 – Marakwet East MP Jebii Kilimo: Clans in this country have an attachment to some of the forests may be for bee keeping and others like the Kaya community do traditional rites. Taking this resource to the Central government is not right.

10.32 Eldoret north MP William Ruto: If we want to give meaning to devolution we must not at the same time deprive them of the means to create sufficient resources.

10.28 Loitoktok MP Katoo Ole Metito moves an amendment to place government game reserves, national parks, government animal sanctuaries, and specially protected areas under the management of counties. He argues this would empower the counties financially to operate.

10.27 Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery’s amendments to the Article on land aimed at deleting the provision of equitable ownership of land flops as he is not in the House to move his amendment.

10.26 Mr Ruto suffers his second defeat in the House as his amendment on land is defeated.

10.15 Mr Marende rules that although the concern by Mr Kosgey was legitimate, members have the right to get in and out of the chambers as they so wish.

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10.14 Mr Kosgey alerts the Speaker that MPs are moving out of the Chambers during voting to frustrate amendments.

10.13 Mr Nanok’s amendment flops. Only 65 MPs present.

10.00 Turkana South MP Joseph Nanok moves an amendment to the article on family to state that one can only marry “an adult” to outlaw child marriages.

9.58 Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey withdraws his amendment.

9.57 Mr Mwathi withdraws his fourth amendment.

9.57 The amendment by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto seeking to obligate the government to compensate community land owners before reposing it fails after only 58 MPs are present.

9.27 Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi moves an amendment that seeks to delete a clause that states that a person shall not be denied work or access to any property based on their belief.

9.20 – Limuru MP moves an amendment to delete a section that gives a person the right not to have their person, home or property searched; their possessions seized flops.

9.17 – The Speaker announces that the amendment by Mr Mithika has flopped. Only 28 MPs are present in the House.

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9.08 – Debate on the proposed amendment to delete the affirmative action clause on elective posts resumes. It requires that the government ensures that not more than two thirds of the posts are from one gender. More MPs oppose it led by Mohammed Affey, Gideon and Cyrus Ruteere claiming that it would discriminate women.

9.00 Speaker Kenneth Marende enters the chambers and leads the House in prayer.

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