Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka  orders  probe into allegations that a section of Senators were blocked from travelling outside the country

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka orders probe into allegations that a section of Senators were blocked from travelling outside the country

BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,25TH JAN,2022-Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka has ordered a probe into allegations that a section of Senators were blocked from travelling outside the country until the conclusion of the debate and passage of the Political Parties Amendment Bill, 2021.

A report on the Bill was tabled at the Senate on Tuesday by Chairperson of the Justice Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee (JLAC) Okongo Omogeni. 

The House was recalled for a three-day special sitting which will run until Thursday to allow members debate the Bill.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot raised the issue and accused the Executive of being behind the directive he said was being implemented by airport officials. 

“I’ve received news that senators going about their duties and sometimes part of their duties involved traveling out of the country have been stopped at the various border points and told that there is a directive from the Executive that no Senator shall travel outside the country until we finish consideration of this Bill that is before this house,” he said. 

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula said it was unfortunate that the Executive was bulldozing the House to pass the Bill. 

“No law obligates every Senator to sit in the House and now that we even debate through different mediums via zoom and other mediums, a member sitting in a committee in the UAE or in US or wherever can participate in the proceedings of this house and in fact we have had members voting from Washington,” he said. 

He revealed that he was privy to information where Kwale Senator Issa Boy Juma who was travelling outside the country was blocked by airport officials. 

Mandera Senator Maalim Mohamud notified the House that a relative of his working at the airport had warned him against travelling outside the country on explicit instructions from the Executive. 

“I think the executive is desperate and in fact this person warned me that I wouldn’t be allowed to travel and that two people had been turned back,” he said. 

Senate Minority Leader James Orengo asked the House to shelve debate on the matter until a full report is tabled. 

“I have had a situation myself being removed from a plane and that was under the old constitution. I would rather that we bring the case properly before the house,” he said. 

Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio however faulted his colleagues for dragging the President’s name unnecessarily without providing evidence. 

“This is actually where people begin to lose it, let’s show some respect to our President even in the situations where we differ with him in opinions,” he said.  

The House will on Wednesday afternoon begin the second reading of the Political Parties Amendment Bill, dubbed the Azimio Bill, which has split the House down the middle. 

Already, a section of members have proposed amendments to the Bill whose proponents – President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga — are keen to have passed before end of January. 

The Bill is meant to create a smooth path for ODM leader Raila Odinga in forming his Azimio La Umoja coalition ahead of the August 9 presidential election.

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Deputy President William Ruto’s allies are among those who have lined a series of amendments to the Bill. 

The Senate is required to pass the Bill without any amendment to avoid any delays for its implementation.

Any amendment to the Bill by the Senate will result in the formation of a mediation committee comprising of the members from the bicameral Parliament.

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