President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s allies have made frantic efforts to salvage the leadership crisis at the National Assembly.
Together with the Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai, they burned the midnight oil to crack the riddle of the premature adjournment triggered by Tanga tanga MPs on Tuesday.
The concerted efforts saw the leaders resolve to have the sitting on Thursday but the same was later changed to Tuesday, February 1.
Speaker Justin Muturi informed members that he received a notification from the Leader of the Majority Amos Kimunya requesting the date.
“…he wishes to move the motions relating to approval of nominees for appointment to the House Business Committee on Tuesday next week, which I have since approved,” Muturi said.
“In the circumstances and since there is no business to transact tomorrow (Thursday), the next sitting of the House will now be held on Tuesday, 1st February 2022.”
Deputy President William Ruto allies pulled a surprise on the handshake pair by voting to reject the formation of the House Business Committee for the sixth session of the 12th Parliament.
The vote scuttled parliamentary sittings as the committee plays the crucial role of lining up business for the House.
In essence, the vote paralysed Parliament as it had no business to transact and was technically suspended even though timelines in the lead up to the August polls are tight.
The House has scheduled the budget, election laws, state-sponsored bills, as well as several private members’ bills.
But after a series of consultations late into Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the House leadership reached a decision to convene the House Wednesday afternoon.
They took advantage of the directive by Speaker Justin Muturi that the motion could be introduced in a different form after the decision of the House has been rescinded.
The leaders have thus presented to the Speaker a motion to rescind the decision of the House on Tuesday in line with the House Standing Orders.
Standing Order 49 says no motion may be moved which is the same in substance as any question which has been resolved – either in the affirmative or in the negative- before the lapse of six months.
However, despite the rule, a motion to rescind the decision on such a question may be moved with the permission of the Speaker.
Muturi said MPs could not meet yesterday as the rules provide that an order paper be published 12 hours before the scheduled sitting.
“It was not possible for us to meet today (Wednesday) since we adjourned at around 3pm. If the Majority leader had consulted, I would have called a sitting today.”
The speaker said that having received the full list of nominees for appointment to the House Business Committee from the minority and majority parties, sittings would proceed.
Sialai said the motion was ready but did not divulge further details on the nominees, as the motion cannot be introduced in the same fashion as the rescinded one.
“We will consider the motion successfully when we next sit. The names might be the same or different,” the National Assembly Clerk said.
Those in the rejected list were MPs Joyce Emanikor (Turkana Woman Rep), Shadrack John Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Kawira Mwangaza (Meru Woman MP), Mohamed Abdikhaim Osman (Fafi), Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), Mishi Mboko (Likoni) and Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated).
Others with express seats in the committee that prioritises business are Amos Kimunya, Minority leader John Mbadi, Majority Whip Emmanuel Wangwe and Minority Whip Junet Mohamed.
House leaders Kimunya (Majority Leader) and Mbadi said they had whipped members to attend the sitting and approve the nominees for normalcy to return.
A number of lawmakers had travelled out of the capital for their campaign engagements following the Tuesday adjournment.
“We were planning with Wednesday but it was not possible to hold a sitting in the afternoon,” Mbadi said.
The Suba South MP, while castigating their counterparts for playing politics with crucial issues of governance, admitted their side was caught off-guard.
“Our members were just caught off-guard. We are mobilising them to return,” the lawmaker said, even as Kimunya added that he was confident the motion will sail through.
“We have the sufficient numbers to vote on this and allow the House to proceed with the business of the sixth session,” he said on Wednesday.
Uhuru and Raila enjoy the support of over 200 MPs in the National Assembly against Ruto’s 140 – including the newcomers from ANC and Ford Kenya.
The development followed even as DP allies are spoiling for a fight in an elaborate strategy to not only cripple business but also take credit for some outcomes.
The MPs have indicated their intention to move amendments to the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) for the financial year 2022-23.
Ruto’s men are also keen on pushing for the bill seeking to reduce fuel taxes to be prioritised in order “to extend the benefits to taxpayers.”
The Star has established that the aim is to communicate to wananchi that they care about the real issues affecting their daily lives, “unlike their counterparts”.
Sirisia MP John Waluke spilt the beans with his revelation that the strategy was discussed in a meeting of UDA, Ford Kenya, and ANC-allied lawmakers.