NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 21 – Parliament has approved changes to the Political Parties Act to allow MPs and councillors to defect from their political parties and still retain their seats.
Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi successfully proposed to amend the Political Parties Act to suspend the clause until after the next elections.
“The country is in transition and this law should be suspended to also give the nation time to heal from the 2007/2008 poll violence,” argued Musyimi.
Musyimi was elected on a Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket but he intends to contest for the presidency under the Democratic Party.
Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba cited Musyimi’s proposals as an example of the ‘offensive’ unconstitutional amendments and asked the Speaker to make a ruling on the matter.
Namwamba read to the House a letter from the Chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Commission Charles Nyachae to the House Speaker Kenneth Marende informing him that the commission would move to court to block the amendments which he argued were unconstitutional.
Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed dismissed Nyache’s bid saying it was not the responsibility of CIC to supervise Parliament.
The House also rejected proposals by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto to allow presidential candidates and their deputies to also contest in other elective positions even as they seek the top seat.
Ruto wanted changes to the Elections Act to provide that incase a presidential candidate and the deputy win in their bid for the top seat, they can forfeit the lesser position.
However, the amendments were unanimously rejected by the House which sat late into the night on Wednesday to debate changes to the Statute Law Miscellaneous Bill.
The MPs dismissed the proposal as unconstitutional and unnecessary.
Temporary Speaker Joyce Laboso had a difficult time controlling the rowdy MPs which saw Nominated MP Rachel Shebesh thrown out for being disorderly.
Ruto however successfully proposed an amendment to provide that a presidential candidate and the deputy be eligible for nomination and also contest in any other elective seat in the next elections.
MPs said the law should not be applied to discourage competition for the presidency or frustrate younger presidential hopefuls by “sending them to the village”.
Ruto further pushed the amendments to have the President and the Deputy President relinquish their other elective positions should they succeed in being elected, thereby occasioning ‘unnecessary and costly by-elections.’