, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5 – Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) lawmakers walked out of the National Assembly during charged debate that saw their Jubilee counterparts overwhelmingly approve a Motion that sets the stage for Kenya’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.
The Motion comes barely five days before Deputy President William Ruto begins his trial for crimes against humanity at Hague. The move however has no impact on ongoing cases.
The Leader of Majority Adan Duale introduced the Motion but it was later amended by nominated MP Johnson Sakaja and seeks to introduce a Bill within the next 30 days to repeal the International Crimes Act (No 16 of 2008) and that the Government urgently undertakes measures to immediately withdraw from the Rome Statute of the ICC adopted by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on July 17, 1998.
Sakaja, who is the chairman of The National Alliance which sponsored the President’s bid, argued that what Parliament was doing was not tantamount to non-cooperation with the ICC.
“The reason for the Motion is that despite cooperation, the ICC has not reciprocated with respect and even appeals are denied,” he said.
CORD Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo instigated the walkout, after he categorically said that the opposition would not be party to the amendment and as if on cue CORD legislators walked out.
Duale in turn shepherd his coalition members to cross the floor of the House and take up the seats left vacant. He then rushed to the dispatch box and retorted, “The local owners of the ICC process are walking out of the House.”
The debate on the Motion had been turned into a shouting match between Midiwo, Duale and at times Speaker Justin Muturi joined in while trying to keep the contributions on track.
Midiwo who was the sixth contributor to the Motion survived being thrown out of the House despite refusal to withdraw and apologise for referring to Jubilee rivals as ‘thieves.’
Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau had requested the Speaker to push the Gem legislator to substantiate his statement.
“Is it in order for Hon Midiwo to continue addressing the House after calling us thieves?” Kamau asked.
Midiwo has said: “The institutions such as the Judiciary may be reformed but the office holders are thieves like you.”
In his contribution, Midiwo said they had not been informed of the real intention of the Motion, but had everything to do with the current trials.
Earlier, Duale told the House that his initiative was meant at aping former US President George W. Bush who withdrew his country’s membership to the ICC to protect his people.
He said that current trials facing Kenya’s leaders will be the first for a sitting President and his Deputy to be tried in a foreign land.
“The matter before us is a matter of great importance and it touches on the sovereignty of this nation.”