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MPs vote to burn midnight oil

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The Executive and Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee weathered opposition from a section of the backbench MPs to carry the day and have a Motion to install emergency measure to ensure that the pending 19 constitutional implementation Bills are passed by Friday.

This means that Parliament will sit until the business on the Order Paper is exhausted.

Backbenchers led by Gitobu Imanyara, George Nyamweya and Charles Keter wanted the Bills delayed, arguing that the Executive was trying to use the House as a rubber stamp.

They said a Motion to extend House sittings was misplaced on the basis that the government had been dragging its feet.

They were suspicious of the Executive’s agenda in rushing the Bills without factoring input from other stakeholders.

Nairobi Metropolitan Development Assistant Minister Elizabeth Ongoro (Kasarani MP) said the whole country was against an extension of the deadlines set out in the Constitution by which the crucial laws must be enacted.

Bura MP Nuh Abdi got into trouble with the Speaker after he remarked that; “the Executive arm of the Kenyan government is like a wheelbarrow that needs to be pushed to move on implementation of the Constitution.”

The Motion was moved by Leader of Government Business Kalonzo Musyoka who appealed to the MPs to support it adding that the Cabinet had worked overtime to ensure Parliament received all the Bills.

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An attempt by the EAC Assistant Minister Peter Munya to go against collective responsibility in government was halted by the Speaker

“In a constitutional matter such as this, there is no government collective responsibility,” he was heard protesting.

Meanwhile, Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled there’s nothing unconstitutional with amendments to Political Parties Bill by allies to William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta. The amendments among others included provision for formation of post election coalitions and the eligibility of persons to vie as independent candidates.

“I recognise that it can be argued that the Constitution should have gone further and made provisions similar to those at Article 85(a) in respect of a member wishing to leave one party and contest an election under the banner of another party. However, for better or for worse, the Constitution did not do this.” ruled Mr Marende.

MPs Martha Karua, Simiyu Eseli and Olago Aluoch had claimed that the amendment was against the Constitution.

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