, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 6 – A dispute between Orange Democratic Movement and Party of National Unity MPs over the election of the chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee led to the premature adjournment of the committee\’s maiden meeting.
The meeting whose main agenda was to confirm Mandera Central MP Mohammed Abdikadir and his Budalang\’i counterpart Ababu Namwamba as Chairman and Deputy of the 27-member team respectively stalled following disagreement.
A source in the three-hour meeting said that mistrust arose along party lines among the coalition partners led to a postponement after it emerged that ODM was missing some of it members in the committee.
According to the source, another argument that called for gender balance in the hierarchy of the committee arose. Cabinet Minister Beth Mugo and Nominated MP Amina Abdalla led those advancing this argument saying it was not possible to have two men at the top, especially in light of the provisions of the new Constitution.
The source said that PNU and the Cabinet had proposed that Mr Mohammed be the chairman, and that this meant that position of vice-chairperson ought to go to a woman.
It is at this point that ODM pushed for the adjournment of the meeting until late on Wednesday when they hoped to marshal all their members to push for Mr Namwamba to now become the chairman, just in case the issue of gender balance is forced through.
A joint Parliamentary Group meeting had backed Mr Namwamba and Mr Mohammed whose reconciliatory stewardship of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Review is credited with delivering the new Constitution.
National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi who chaired the three-hour meeting at County Hall on Wednesday morning adjourned it to allow the MPs to build consensus.
"There are no serious problems, just a lot of consultations; it\’s a question of trying to build consensus, that\’s the way the House has been doing it this far," Mr Gichohi explained.
He dismissed reports of a stalemate in the committee.
ODM\’s Joyce Laboso, Sophia Abdi, Julius Murgor and Danson Mwazo were absent while in PNU only Cecily Mbarire failed to turn up.
Mr Namwamba had earlier assured Kenyans that they would seek to hit the ground running.
"The clock started ticking on August 27 (when the Constitution was declared the law of the land) and so in terms of timelines this Committee does not have much time. This Committee must therefore initiate the passing of the CIC bill and nominating the commissioner for the vetting and approval by Parliament," said Mr Namwamba.
Parliament on Tuesday deferred debate on three crucial Bills to allow MPs to reach consensus given that some of them had expressed opposition to the drafting procedure which they claim is premature since the Constitution Implementation Commission has not been set.
The failure to elect the heads of the committee means the implementation could be delayed further following Tuesday\’s withdrawal of the first three Bills on implementation.