BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,28TH DEC,2016-Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro has ordered investigations into heavy deployment of police to Parliament Buildings ahead of Wednesday’s special sitting.
Mr Ethuro directed the House National Security Committee to look into the matter and report back to the House.
“This is not a police state. This is a democracy,” he told the Floor in a ruling after requests to adjourn over the security issue.
“The instructions were very clear that we don’t need any police presence. Even today when I came in and I saw (police), I called the Cabinet secretary for Interior (Joseph Nkaissery).”
The Speaker also ruled that the entire session would be broadcast live after the Parliament Broadcasting Unit signal was switched off last week when the National Assembly sitting degenerated into chaos.
His ruling followed protests and condemnation of the heavy police presence that saw some senators forced to abandon their cars and walk to the chamber.
The anti-riot officers, mainly GSU, barricaded Parliament Road and Harambee Avenue as more officers stood guard around the August House.
The Senators said the presence of the police was scaring them sick.
And both Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki and his Minority counterpart Moses Wetang’ula condemned the presence of the police on roads leading to Parliament Buildings, saying it eroded the independence of the Senate.
“Why is the gallery empty? Why is Parliament barricaded?” asked Mr Wetang’ula who claimed National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had been escorted to Parliament by armed police.
“Is this part of Lang’ata Barracks or is this part of the Senate of the representatives of the people of Kenya. I beseech you Mr Speaker to suspend this sitting and demand that the executive withdraw this barricade. For what reason is it Mr Speaker?
Prof Kindiki, who represents Tharaka-Nithi County, supported this view, saying the Senate had had no security issues to warrant the heavy deployment.
“We have never had incidents inside this House. Even when one or two senators veered off, they veered off elsewhere. Not here,” he argued.
“It is not right for anybody to ask policemen or women to come and camp here when senators are meeting because there is no incident. We have come here to persuade each other using logic.”
The Senator, who taught law at university before joining politics argued the Special Sitting had broken the senators’ holidays and some had even driven themselves from their homes because their drivers had taken vacation.
“You can’t ask someone who has driven himself to go and park in River Road. Allow me to condemn in strongest terms possible any attempt by the police who should be elsewhere…they should not come here to try and intimidate us…this has nothing to do with the government.”
The senators are looking into amendments adopted by MPs last week.