BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,29TH DEC,2021-Deputy President William Ruto suffered a setback Wednesday after National Assembly Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi struck out amendments by MPs allied to him in the controversial Political parties Amendment Bill of 2021.
Cheboi expunged the prosecution of amendments fronted by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa, Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie and his counterpart from Kilifi North Owen Baya on the basis that they failed on the merit of public participation as envisaged by the law.
“This proposals fall short of the requirement 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 to the bill, I direct that committee of the whole house shall not consider the proposed amendments,” Cheboi ruled.
MPs were recalled by Speaker Justin Muturi to vote on the controversial amendments largely opposed by Ruto and MPs loyal to him who see it as a boost to Odinga who intends to vie for the presidency on an Azimio La Umoja ticket.
Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement party (ODM) has partnered with several parties to form the initiative and the bill, fronted by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, is largely seen as a rubber stamp to his presidential bid since it seeks to allow parties or coalitions to front a presidential candidate.
The legislators had proposed amendments to enable the creation of a Political Parties Registration Board (PPRB) which will have a Chief Executive Board by insertion of a new clause in section 19A.
Further they had sought to amend the terminology referring to the Registrar of Political Parties to be referred to as the Chief Executive Officer of the PPRB and the manner of his or her appointment.
“Instructively, it is noted that some of the amendments offend the provisions of Standing Order 133(5) in that they propose to unreasonably or unduly expand the subject of the Bill,” said Cheboi.
Belgut MP Nelson Koech who sought to present amendments to change the title of the Bill from the ‘Political Parties (Amendment) Bill’ to ‘Political Parties Coalition Bill’ was also struck out on technicalities.
“I disallowed that particular proposed amendment since there is no law called Political Parties Coalition Act. Therefore, the proposed amendment is technically inadmissible,” the Deputy Speaker ruled.
The Deputy Speaker, however, directed that individual amendments in the Political Parties Bill 2021 will be considered by the House despite a report by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee recommending the expunging of the amendments before the plenary.
“Since all Members ultimately retain the right to have their amendments published in the Order Paper for decision by the House, it is for this reason that I did direct that the amendments by all Members be published in the Order Paper, including those that appeared not to have undergone the harmonization process,” ruled Cheboi.
On Tuesday, a report by JLAC led Kangema MP Muturi Kigano recommended the thwarting of the amendments after MPs loyal to Ruto stormed out of the committee saying they cannot deliberate in the presence of other stakeholders after the parties registrar was invited.
“For those MPs who walked out, we take it as having dropped their amendments. Depending on our recommendations they are entitled to present their amendments before the house and the speaker will be able to see that they had opportunity and they abandoned it,” Kigano said.