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MPs Recalled to Debate Controversial Bill

  • The National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi, has recalled Members of Parliament for a special sitting to specifically debate the contentious Political Parties (Amendment) Bill of 2021.

    Through a notice dated Thursday, December 23, the office of the Speaker announced that the Legislators will hold a special sitting on Wednesday, December 29, to discuss the bill and make a final determination on the same.

    In the notice, Muturi stated that the special sitting was rescheduled after a request by the Majority Leader in the National Assembly, Amos Kimunya.

    Justin Muturi

    National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi

    File

    “Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 29(1) relating to a special sitting of the House, I have received and acceded to a request from the Leader of Majority Party to hold special sittings of the National Assembly on December 29.

    “The sitting will be held for the purposes of the consideration in committee of the whole House and the Third Reading of the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill No. 56 of 2021,” read the notice.

    The announcement by Muturi comes barely a day after the National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Moses Cheboi, pushed the debate on the controversial bill to January 25, 2022, following amendments that had been proposed by Legislators allied to Deputy President William Ruto.

    “This will definitely require time and cannot be completed in the short time remaining. I, therefore, adjourn the session to January 25, 2022, to allow the requisite committee to look into the amendments and report to the House,” Cheboi ruled.

    During the debate, pro-handshake Legislators had locked heads with allies of the DP on whether the Bill should have proceeded to the Third Reading, which is the final stage for the passage of a Bill in Parliament. 

    115 MPs supported the Bill in the second reading against 68 who were opposed to the same being taken for the Third Reading.

    Allies of the DP claimed that the Bill was meant to favour the presidential bid of ODM party leader, Raila Odinga, as the bill paves way for the registration of the Azimio la Umoja as a political coalition. The Bill also proposed that political parties should register their coalitions six months before the polls. 

    “The Bill proposes to amend the Act by replacing the definition of ‘political party’ with new definition and to insert new definitions of ‘coalition of political party’, ‘direct party nomination’, ‘indirect party nomination’ and the ‘statement of ideology’ that are consistent with other proposed amendments to the Act contained in the Bill,” read the Bill.

    Additionally, Ruto allies were opposed to Clause 20 of the proposed Bill that sought to give the Registrar of Political Parties powers over the register of members of political parties.

    Even as a showdown looms between the two political camps as was witnessed on December 22, Muturi stated that the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) will hold a meeting on December 28 to harmonise the issues that had brought contention among the Legislators.

    “Members who will have proposed amendments to the Bill have been notified to attend the meetings of the department committee on Justice and Legal Affairs of Tuesday, December 28 for purposes of harmonisation and winnowing,” read the notice in part.

    Raila Odinga arrives at Kasarani Stadium during the Azimio la Umoja national convention on Friday, December 10, 2021

    Raila Odinga arrives at Kasarani Stadium during the Azimio la Umoja national convention on Friday, December 10, 2021

    Kenyans.co.ke

    Fred Gikandi

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