, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 13 – Business in the National Assembly was on Wednesday morning temporarily held up due to lack of quorum as it emerged that Jubilee Party MPs were away attending a parliamentary group meeting at State House.
NASA MPs joked that the Jubilee Party MPs had decided to “resist” the Sitting as House Speaker Justin Muturi found himself in a unique position of presiding over a sitting of MPs who boycotted a sitting that led to his election in August because the sitting was convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose victory they contest.
“Honourable Members it looks like one side (of the House) is not present. I think this is very interesting, Honourable Mbadi you said they are resisting? That is quite interesting,” the Speaker noted as he observed that the House Business Committee had lined up for adoption various procedural matters such the adoption of the Report of the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the Election of Members to the East African Legislative Assembly.
Jubilee Party enjoys numerical advantage in the National Assembly with 177 MPs, while NASA and its affiliates have a combined 123 MPs – these include nominated and those from friendlier parties.
The situation was salvaged by NASA MPs led by Minority Leader John Mbadi (Suba South) and Minority Deputy Whip Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) who managed to whip more than 50 MPs into the chamber to make up quorum and facilitate business to be transacted.
Muturi was forced call for the quorum bell to be rang for more than mandatory 15 minutes as MPs wondered whether it was in order for the majority side to be away from a House Sitting.
“Mr. Speaker, the proceedings of the House are very important that not even a policeman can stop you when you are coming to (conduct) the House Business. So, I am asking for the ruling of the chair because it is totally out of order for government (side) to miss business and totally be absent from the proceeding of the House, Mr. Speaker.”
“I am aware they are having some serious trouble among themselves; so the ruling I am seeking from the Chair is that no parliamentary group sitting should be held during the hours of the Sitting of the House,” Charles Kilonzo said as he sought the guidance of the Speaker.
Minority Whip Junet Mohammed (Suna East) in his casual nature jokingly observed that the Speaker was actually more relaxed as he presided over the ‘opposition’ sitting which he boasted has serious debaters.
“Mr. Speaker, you have seen the way the NASA side has very good debaters, no parochial issues, no side shows, right to the point, and I can see today you are very happy, Mr. Speaker, even your face is more brighter than the other days,” he said as he acknowledged that both the Majority and Minority sides are required for the House to transact its business.