NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has dismissed allegations that Parliament is being arm-twisted by the Executive.
Speaking to Capital FM News, Duale said the notion that the Executive is bulldozing Parliament is a fallacy which should be disregarded in totality.
“Kenya is a parliamentary democracy and that is in the Constitution. In parliamentary democracies parties matter and in Kenya we are using a presidential system of government where there exist the Majority and Minority side.
“The Majority that has formed government will always aspire to support the president and his deputy who are in the Executive,” said Duale.
The independence of Parliament came into the spotlight when four Jubilee lawmakers were stripped their chairmanship positions of parliamentary committees after they had vied against the wishes of the party who had other preferred members.
MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North) had earlier been elected as chairpersons in the Labour and Social Welfare Committee, Agriculture Committee and Parliamentary Broadcasting Services committee respectively.
The Garissa Township MP said the relationship between the Majority side in Parliament and the Executive is crucial in the running of government business and it for whatever reason should not be considered as interference.
“There is no way someone can de-link the leadership of Jubilee in the Executive and the rank and file of membership of Jubilee Party in the House. That is why in the absence of Cabinet Secretaries in the House the Leader of Majority representing the ruling coalition is the bridge between the government and the legislature,” Duale said.
To draw contrast between the relationship that the Executive and Parliament hold, on Tuesday during a Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting at State House chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Head of State read the riot act to Jubilee members who defy party orders.
According to some Jubilee Members of Parliament who chose to remain anonymous, they termed the meeting as direct violation of the independence of Parliament and described it as pure dictatorship.
During the meeting Kenyatta is said to have asked the Jubilee members to follow party orders or else face punitive measures from the party’s secretariat.
Kenyatta is also said not to take lightly and tolerate wrangles within the party as previously witnessed before by some rebel members who have openly disagreed with the party on some issues.
According to Duale, the Head of State is likely to address a joint sitting in Parliament sometime in March and top on the agenda during his address is calls for unity in the House.
Calls for independence of Parliament also escalated Tuesday in the Senate where Senators Moses Wetangula and James Orengo called on Parliament to seize the historical moment and stand up and be counted in protection of civil liberties.
The lawmakers were reacting to recent crackdown on the opposition legislators that participated in the mock swearing in of the NASA leader Raila Odinga as the people’s president and recent closure of TV stations, threats to arrest journalists, MPs and in the wake of deportation of lawyer Miguna Miguna despite clear constitutional provisions.
Parliament resumed its sittings Tuesday and according to Duale the House will prioritize different bills such as Cybercrime Bill, Roads Bill, Energy Bill among others.