By JOHN NGIRACHU firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Tuesday, May 7 2013 at 17:55
Posted Tuesday, May 7 2013 at 17:55
The Coalition on Reforms and Democracy (Cord) MPs Tuesday staged a walk-out from the National Assembly shortly after Speaker Justin Muturi brought to an end the House’s stormiest session yet.
Led by Minority Leader Francis Nyenze, Cord claimed it had not been given a fair hearing in his attempts to contribute to the robust debate over the formation of the committees.
Mr Nyenze called and then quickly cancelled a press conference at the media centre as his colleagues asked him to consult.
Earlier, in the midst of the furious debate over the tussle between the Cord and Jubilee coalitions over the formation of the Public Accounts and the Public Investments committees, Nyando MP Fred Outa was thrown out of Parliament. He dilly-dallied to leave the chambers and the Speaker had to ask the security men to escort him out of the chambers.
Mr Outa was among MPs who shouted “shame” and caused a loud ruckus in the House. He will not be allowed within the precincts of Parliament in the next three days, Speaker Justin Muturi ordered.
His ejection was one of the highlights of the debate marked by numerous points of order, accusations, threats, the labelling of Cord MPs as “orphans” and other digs at each other across the floor.
The coalitions’ leaders had last Thursday been ordered by the Speaker to negotiate an end to the wrangling and come up with the membership of the committees.
But they had not, by 1.30 pm Tuesday, and Majority Leader Aden Duale indicated this by informing the House that he had submitted Jubilee’s list of committee members to the Clerk.
Minority Deputy Leader Jakoyo Midiwo immediately described Mr Duale’s submission as “way misplaced.”
“If you are a leader, you must lead. You can’t talk to the other side through the media,” he charged.
Mr Midiwo said that even after submitting the names, the committees wouldn’t work because they did not meet the minimum required for a committee to be considered to be in place.
The Speaker had anticipated this discord between the coalitions and prepared a ruling to enable the House continue with its job, which has been in limbo because of the fighting between the coalitions.
The National Assembly is running out of time to finish discussing the Division of Revenue Bill, he said, and in the absence of the committees, MPs will have to discuss it Wednesday.
The National Assembly has to finish with the Bill by Thursday, he said, and this means when it is taken for the Second Reading Wednesday morning, it will be the first time a Bill will be discussed without the input from a committee.
“We have assumed, rightly so, that there is no Committee to which it could have been referred, which could have helped the plenary with recommendations. Now there isn’t, so you’ll have to do it here,” said the Speaker.
The Division of Revenue Bill is important because it provides the formula Treasury has proposed for the sharing of money between the national and the county governments.
It is expected to be changed on the floor because Treasury has agreed to raise the amount from Sh198 billion to Sh204 billion. The matter of contention would have been the fact that Treasury has differed with the recommendation by the Commission on Revenue Allocation for Sh231 billion to be given to the counties.
“As a House, we have a responsibility to this country,” the Speaker pleaded at the end of a heated and acrimonious debate.
If the committees are not formed on time, the National Assembly could be forced to conduct most of its business in the plenary meetings rather than in the committees.