NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – There was drama in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon when MPs led by Ikolomani legislator Boni Khalwale insisted that a statement on the alleged scam surrounding the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative be issued by Prime Minister Raila Odinga personally.
The heated debate saw the legislators sharply divided over whether or not the statement could be issued by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.
Khalwale argued that the matter should have been addressed by either the Prime Minister or Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta as he was in charge of finances.
“We have two Deputy Prime Ministers; the one before us (Musalia Mudavadi) is in charge of Local Government and the other one is in charge of Finance. So since the issue of integrity touches on money then the right person to handle it is Kenyatta,” argued Khalwale.
However Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba discounted Khalwale’s argument saying that the Prime Minister was at liberty to designate any member of the Executive to issue a statement on his behalf, in the event that he could not make it for Parliament. (The Prime Minister is on a trip abroad).
While citing the Standing Orders, Namwamba stated that the debate surrounding the matter was unnecessary.
“The Prime Minister picked the Deputy Prime Minister and member for Sabatia to read his statement so may we not waste any more time and go back to the Standing Orders of this House,” retorted Namwamba.
House Speaker Kenneth Marende however interjected asking him to withdraw the statement on ‘MPs wasting time’ and apologise to the House.
During the debate, Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch, Eldama Ravine’s Moses Lessonet and nominated MP Millie Odhiambo were also forced to withdraw their statements and apologise over what was considered inappropriate language.
“The Standing Orders allow the PM to pick anyone to present himself and Khalwale was aware of this but he was just being mischievous,” claimed Aluoch.
Khalwale however quickly interjected insisting that the issue surrounding the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative was serious and should not be turned into an emotive debate.
“I am a doctor and Aluoch is a lawyer but the medium of teaching right from nursery school to wherever we reached is English. He understands English and so do I; the word mischievous is unnecessary,” quipped Khalwale.
Marende then intervened and forced Aluoch to withdraw his statement.
The Kisumu Town West MP then withdrew the word mischievous but replaced it with ‘deliberately falsified’.
“You must withdraw those words as well and please remember that that is the second prompting,” cautioned Marende.
Aluoch eventually withdrew the words and apologised.
After more than 50 minutes of the debate, Marende issued his ruling allowing Mudavadi to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
Through the statement, the Prime Minister said that the World Bank had not stopped funding the initiative and that a more comprehensive report on the issue will be released.