Political drumbeats: Mudavadi says  Move To Amend The Political Parties Act absolutely necessary

Political drumbeats: Mudavadi says Move To Amend The Political Parties Act absolutely necessary

NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 26-Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi says he fully supports proposed amendments in the Political Parties Amendment Bill 2021 that seeks to allow candidates to run on either coalition party tickets or individual parties among other provisions.

While addressing residents of Bungoma on Sunday, Mudavadi said that after wide consultation with like-minded individuals his party has decided to support the amendments.

“I want Kenyans to understand that we had discussions with (Moses) Wetangula and decided to support the political parties’ amendments because we want the 2002 Narc coalition situation where we had rainbow candidates that formed the Narc government reinforced,” Mudavadi said.

The ANC leader lamented that lack of clear provision in the coalition agreements has always led to mistrust in the political agreements in any general elections.

This even as the passage of the amendments in the Political Parties Act is seen as a win to ODM leader Raila Odinga who is rooting for a pre-election pact under Azimio la Umoja Movement ahead of 2022 polls.

“The reason why we support the political parties amendment bill is because once bitten, twice shy and I will tell you that coalition formation is not a walk in the park,” Mudavadi stated in apparent reference to his previous engagement with Odinga under the National Super Alliance (NASA).

It might be a smooth sailing for the push to amend the Political Parties Act  in the August house with the support from Mudavadi that now leaves Deputy President William Ruto allies in the opposing end ahead of the special sitting set for 29th December 2021.

The bill sponsored by Majority leader in the National Assembly Amos Kimunya provides that in case of a coalition political party, the coalition agreement must be submitted at least six months to an election.

According to the proposed law, the coalition party will be registered with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.

It also provides that a person may be expelled from a political party if he or she contravenes any provisions of the Constitution of a political party, in this case prohibiting party hopping.

The debate on second reading of the Bill during a special sitting on 23rd December 2021 kicked off on a rocky path with those opposed to the Bill challenging the constitutionality of some of the clauses contained in the legislative proposal.

Some 113 MPs, mostly allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Odinga, a group identified as the handshake team, voted for the progress of debate on the Bill to third reading and subsequent voting against 68 as it appeared imminent that the Bill was poised to pass.

The smooth sail was however, cut short after the afternoon session was suspended by the Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi.

The Bill seeks to among other provide for the formation of a coalition political party an aspect which is among contested issues.

The Bill has seen close to 17 members front amendments to the Bill with a majority of those allied to the Deputy President seeking the amendment of all the clauses which they termed as unconstitutional.

Members who submitted their amendments include JLAC Committee Chairperson Muturi Kigano, Ayub Savula (Lugari), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Caleb Kositany (Soy) and Daniel Tuitoek (Mogotho).

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