[SIZE=7]Ruto Team Loses First Round in Battle to Change Political Parties Law[/SIZE]
[li]By PAUL KURGAT on 29 December 2021 - 3:36 pm[/li]
DP William Ruto and a snippet inside parliament building
The National Assembly was on Wednesday, December 29, forced to suspend its session after a member of parliament sustained a bloody injury during a special parliamentary sitting to debate the controversial Political Parties Amendment Bill Sigowet Soin MP Benard Koin suffered an injury in the eye and was spotted bleeding from his right-hand cheek.
Koros, who belongs to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) faction, was seen wiping off blood using his handkerchief. He claimed that he had been attacked by a fellow legislator in the August House.
“Mr. Speaker, I have been attacked in this house by the master of violence, now I can’t see, I can’t vote. We cannot accept to be injured in a national house. This cannot happen here!”
Chaos erupted as the MPs were called upon to vote on the proposed amendments by Kandara MP Alice Wahome to amend Clause 6 of the Political Parties Act. As the lawmakers queued to vote, a brawl erupted within parliament buildings.
Sigowet Soin MP Benard Koros and an old photo of ODM National Chairman- John Mbadi receives the newly launched Party Membership Card
MPs were seen pushing each other, some even exchanging heavy fists and punches - forcing the session speaker Chris Omulele to suspend the sitting for 15 minutes to allow the tension to tone down.
Following the incident, the ODM Chairman and Minority Leader John Mbadi was suspended from parliament for five days.
While addressing the media, Mbadi castigated the move by the Speaker, stating that the decision to suspend him was unfair. He accused Koros of attacking him after he attempted to stop him from voting for a member who was absent.
Mbadi argued that he only retaliated to defend himself from the Sigowet Soin MP.
“The honourable member charges at me and in the process, he bites my finger. So what am I to do? Do I just sit there and watch as he bites my finger?” He posed as he displayed his bleeding finger.
Efforts by Deputy President William Ruto’s team to stop changes to the law governing political parties were on Wednesday, December 29, dealt a blow in a heated session of the National Assembly. During a special parliamentary sitting to debate the highly controversial Political Parties, Amendment Bill, Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi threw out a number of proposals by Members of Parliament allied to the DP. Among them were proposals by Kikuyu MP, Kimani Ichungwah, Dagoretti South MP, John Kiarie and Kilifi North lawmaker, Own Baya.
While Ichungwah and Baya proposed the insertion of Clauses 19A, 25A, 25B, 26A and 26B to the bill, Kiarie wanted to amend clause 20 in entirety, proposing that it be replaced by clauses 19A, 19B, 19C, 26b and 26C.
Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi during a session in Parliament on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.
The legislators fronted the establishment of a Political Parties Registration Board and the position of the Chief Executive Officer of the Board.
The latter would replace the current Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.
However, Cheboi threw out the proposals, explaining that they fell 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…I, therefore, direct that the Committee of the whole house shall not consider the proposed amendments to Clause 20,” Cheboi declared.
On December 22, Cheboi referred all proposed amendments to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee for harmonization through a process known as winnowing.
However, on Tuesday, Garissa Township MP Aden Duale led the contingent of Ruto-allied legislators who stormed out of the meeting before the harmonization was done. The lawmakers stated that they could not deliberate in the presence of the political parties registrar.
The Deputy Speaker also threw out a proposal by Belgut MP, Nelson Koech which sought to amend Clause 1 to change the title of the bill to ‘Political Parties Coalition Bill’.
Ruto asked MPs in his faction to vote against the bill that according to him, would boost Opposition Leader Raila Odinga’s quest to vie for presidency under the [I]Azimio la Umoja [/I]ticket. A proposed amendment by Duale to have parties declare ideologies before registration was also shut down in parliament, gaining 136 votes against 150.
Nonetheless, the Ruto camp recorded a win following the passing of Tigania West MP John Mutunga’s amendments. The surprise win of 123 v 118 votes came after the house disqualified votes cast virtually. The amendment proposed that the dominant color of a coalition be owned by the bigger party.
The most controversial provision is one that allows fully registered political parties to become members of other parties through coalitions.
The provision is speculated to be a move to have an Azimio La Umoja coalition party, similar to the rainbow coalition of NARC, where parties supporting Raila will join in without being dissolved. Debate on the matter is ongoing as at the time of publishing this story with the final vote expected to be cast before the end of the house business on Wednesday, December 29.