NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has defended a Bill that proposes a Sh2 million fine or a 12 month jail term for any Kenyan who fails to use the title ‘Honourable’ when addressing a Member of Parliament.
Muturi, who assured Kenyans that he will not allow debate on any law which goes contrary to the provisions in the Constitution, said the Bill by Eldas MP Adan Keynan has been misunderstood because it only seeks to create order during official functions.
“I think what the Hon Keynan is trying to say is during officialdom, this is the manner of address. It is not requiring citizens to address you as such when they meet such a leader,” he said.
“For instance do you expect my mother to call me Mr Speaker? She will call me Muturi; that is the way she has known me ever since she gave birth to me. You can’t expect her to start addressing me in officialdom!”
The Bill comes weeks after the National Assembly approved amendments to the National Emblems and Symbols Act that stops Governors and Cabinet Secretaries from flying the national flag on their cars.
The Speaker however advised elected officials to focus on service delivery.
“Even if you pamper me with titles and I am not doing anything worthy to the country, my bottom-line is I don’t deserve it. The title is not important because you will not be judged by how many titles you hold, you will be judged by the work that you do with the office you are given,” Muturi said.
The Bill also proposes a hierarchy for State officials according to seniority.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is at the top, followed by his deputy William Ruto.
Next are the House Speakers Ekwe Ethuro and Justin Muturi, followed by the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
Fifth on the ranking are the Senate and National Assembly’s Leaders of Majority and Minority; MPs and Senators are in sixth place.
Governors are ranked seventh followed by the Supreme Court judges.
Cabinet Secretaries, the Attorney General and Principal Secretaries are ninth.
Former Heads of State Mwai Kibaki and Daniel Moi are placed tenth, former VPs eleventh and ambassadors and High Commissioners twelfth.
State officials who give themselves different titles from the ones in the Bill will be fined Sh2 million or jailed for a year.
“Any other person other than a State or officer public officer who contravenes the provisions of this Act commits and offence and shall be liable to a fine not less than Sh1 million and not more than Sh2 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or both,” it says.