NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Parliament has begun debating President Mwai Kibaki\’s speech during Tuesday\’s Special Sitting of Parliament with the rising cost of living and the impeding trials of post election violence suspected taking centre stage.
While moving the Motion for the debate, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka urged the House to stand up and pass the many Bills outlined by the President to implement the new Constitution.
"Time is extremely of essence and this nation is waiting on us to be able to implement this Constitution," he said.
Most of the legislators supported the call to fast track the implementation although they raised issues with the ICC trials and the growth of the economy. Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Njeru Githae urged his colleagues to set aside regional and party politics and join in unity to implement the new law.
"We can expedite things if we stop fighting… if we are united and stop scrambling. If we focus we can pass this in a month," he said.
He warned that early 2012 election campaigns are likely to affect the process.
"We are messing up things with these early campaigns," he said adding that: "Elections will come and go, if we start now we are going to lose focus."
The speech however got a cold reception from a section of MPs who expressed concerns that the President missed to address the current problems affecting the country.
Garsen MP Danson Mungatana cited the downturn of the economy and rising foreign exchange rates that have made "life for the common mwananchi difficult."
"The packet of unga (maize flour) has shot up to Sh89. Mr Speaker, the dollar has shot up meaning that our exports have shot up," Mr Mungatana said.
He criticised the President for failing to give a commitment on the prudent use of government resources.
"If you look at the auditor general\’s report, he has refused to issue certificate because the government has not been prudent in managing the resources," Mr Mungatana added.
Amagoro MP Sospeter Ojaamong backed Mr Mungatana\’s sentiments saying that people in the rural areas are struggling with life becoming unbearable.
"The poverty in the rural areas is so high. Even teachers and clerks cannot pay school fees for their children leave alone feed them.
"The President means well for us all, but I doubt whether this is true for the government departments."
"As long as the economy is not in the hands of Kenyans we are doomed," said Alego-Usonga MP Edwin Yinda.
Orange Democratic Movement MPs rapped the Vice President over the bid to shelve the ICC post election trials. The MPs said it was hypocritical for the government to wish away the International Criminal Court process by seeking a deferral of the trials.
Nominated MP Rachael Shebesh said a deferral would mean postponing the problem for a year.
"We want the matter referred to the country so that we can deal with this issue of the post election violence once and for all," Ms Shebesh said.
Mr Yinda added: "We can continue cheating each other and playing games but unless we put systems in place we are wasting time."
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