Temporary reprieve for Jubilee MPs discharged from House committees

December 27, 2017 3:06 pm
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Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter is among those discharged from his duties/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 27 – Four Jubilee Party MPs on Wednesday moved to the High Court to challenge the decision by their party leaders in the National Assembly to remove them from various committee positions.

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, James Gakuya (Embakasi North), Kangongo Bowen (Marakwet East) and Silah Tiren (Moiben) want the court to quash the decision taken by Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali to de-whip them from House committees.

“The Standing Orders are very clear even if you think we disagreed with the party position and we need to be taken through a disciplinary action you cannot just sit from where you are and dictate. It is unconstitutional and against our rights,” Keter said.

Tiren added: “The party has not talked until now so we thought that the best direction is to come through the courts so that the courts can give us a fair hearing and maybe listen to us. So we will remain as the chairmen of our committees until we are heard.”

Washiali last week recalled Keter and Tiren after they were elected chairpersons of the Labour and Social Welfare and the Agriculture House Committees respectively against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s preferred nominees Ali Wario of Bura and Mandera East’s Adan Ali.

Bowen secured the chairmanship of the Environment and Natural Resources committee after defeating Sophia Abdi of Ijara who was President Kenyatta’s preferred choice.

Keter contends that there was no party position on the matter.

They accused Duale of punishing them after they refused to shelve their interests in the seats for which he had been opening fronting ‘his’ candidates.

“You know when you have a candidate and you start campaigning openly and you lose, you must accept and move on,” Keter said.

Lawyer Frank Walukwe who is representing the MPs said vacation judge John Mativo has temporarily suspended the de-whipping until January 24 when the matter will be heard.

“The majority party leadership has purported to discharge them even before giving them that opportunity to be heard. And they intend that when Parliament resumes next, they be discharged so without the court order, these guys would have built their way to discharging my clients, so the court was one of the avenues (through which) they could safeguard their rights,” he said.

National Assembly Standing Order 176 (1) states that a parliamentary party may discharge a member from a committee after according the member an opportunity to be heard.

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