MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday staged a comeback to shoot down amendments by Deputy President William Ruto’s team that sought to water down the controversial coalition Bill.
The Ruto camp had sought to delete several clauses, including clause 6 that seeks to provide the procedure for the establishment of a Coalition Party.
The proposed amendment was rejected, handing backers of the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021 a major win.
This came as yesterday’s session saw a game of numbers played that saw MPs allied to Ruto pull a surprise first win before rival camp leapfrogged to stage rounds of victories.
Lawmakers in Uhuru and Raila’s camp were forced to mobilise their members into the chambers after DP Ruto’s camp pushed through an amendment to the Bill.
In the first proposed amendment to the now divisive Bill, Ruto’s team marshalled 123 MPs against 118 pro-Uhuru-Raila pushing through an amendment.
Tigania West MP John Mutunga succeeded in making changes to clause 3 of the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021 for political parties to have a specific dominant colour.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is said to be pushing to own “yellow colour” as its dominant colour in what is widely perceived to be targeting Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi’s Development Empowerment Party (DEP), which has a similar colour.
But backers of the handshake duo made a comeback by rallying 158 MPs against 134 to shoot down an amendment by Kandara MP Alice Wahome.
Wahome had sought to delete Clause 6 on the formation of a Coalition Party. She argued that the clause was unconstitutional and should be expunged.
“You cannot come up with new terminology to legislate what is in the Constitution. Coming up with Coalition Political Party offends the Constitution,” said Wahome.
Clause 6 provides among other things, the procedure to be followed for registration of a coalition party, which includes submission of a coalition agreement.
It further provides that governance of a coalition party shall be in accordance with provisions of the Act and regulations relating to the governance of a coalition. The clause also provides that a member of a coalition shall not be a member of another.
Similarly, Uhuru-Raila camp marshalled 150 MPs against 136 to shoot down another amendment by Garissa Township MP Aden Duale.
The outcome of the vote subsequently dealt a blow to similar amendments by MPs Mutunga and Didmus Barasa (Kimilili)who are both allies of DP Ruto.
Clause 5 proposes to amend Section 6 of the Act to provide that an application for provisional registration shall be accompanied by a statement of the ideology of the proposed political party and the party slogan. Duale had sought to have the clause deleted.
Earlier in the morning, Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi rejected the proposed inclusion of new clauses by three MPs allied to Ruto.
Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Owen Baya (Kilifi North) and John Kiarie (Dagoretti South) had sought to create Political Parties Registration Board and the office of Chief Executive Officer of the Board.
Their proposal sought to alter the manner of appointment of the officials in a wider scheme by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) to weaken the Office of the Registrar of the Political Parties.
Ruto camp has claimed a plot by Uhuru and Raila to hand over imperial powers to the ORPP in the running of party nominations.
“I noted that these proposals fall short of the requirements of Standing Order 133(5). These are new amendments that ought to undergo public participation as required by the Constitution, given the far-reaching changes envisioned therein and having gone outside the scope of the Bill as printed,” said the Deputy Speaker.
“I therefore direct that the Committee of the whole House shall not consider the proposed amendments to Clause 20 and the insertion of new Clauses 19A, 19B, 19C, 25A, 25B, 26A, 26B and 26C proposed,” ruled Cheboi.
The controversial Bill has attracted an avalanche of proposed amendments, mostly from allies of Ruto, in what MPs in support of the Bill claim was aimed at derailing its passage.