Speaker Muturi calls on Raila to respect the Constitution and follow Parliamentary route
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi tears into Cord hypocrisy explaining EIBC issue can best be settled by Parliament as provided by the Constitution
“Almost a year ago, on the 9th of June 2015, I stood before you on this very platform and pledged my personal commitment to ensure Parliamentary reportage continues unhampered in parliament, because with a robust Bill of Rights in a Constitution like ours it is the most profound way to transact business.
Importantly, I reminded all of us that Article 118 of our Constitution 2010 require public participation in all our spheres of legislation, and I thought then like I still do now that your medium would be critical in advancing public engagements in parliamentary business.
In the same meeting, I remember very well highlighting the importance of us being honest with ourselves as Kenyans, while examining the role played by Constitutional Commissions and their modalities of playing those roles.
Make no mistake, I was very clear; what business do the Commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) do from 8:00am to 5:00pm; five days a week in the office?
Does that business conflict with the business of the IEBC Secretariat? Simply put, I posed to you then, as I pose today: do we need full time Commissioners of the IEBC? Does the country really need nine (9) Commissioners or less? Is it time we called for a professional elections body by enhancing the secretariat as opposed to relying on political appointees to do the job?
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Well, I raised those matters about a year ago. Where do we stand today? I chose the theme of Electoral Laws Reforms and the Centrality of the institution of Parliament based on what is happening in the country today.
Matter that concerns the people of Kenya
A year ago, it didn’t mean a lot to many of you. Today, it is the elephant in the room. Thanks to some careless politicians, the subject matter I raised a year ago is dominating our news stations and selling the dailies.
From the onset, let me acknowledge that this now is a matter that concerns the people of Kenya. We all don’t wish to go back to the dark days of 2007/2008.
What then, does the Supreme Law that we gave ourselves in August 2010 say about the issues of concern to the people? Can the matters be resolved, and by who?
I wish to state clearly as it is in Article 95 (2) of our Constitution: “The National Assembly deliberates on and resolves issues of concern to the people.”
That is what Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 95; Clause (2) affirms.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Can we then have a serious and objective discourse as to why some political players have decided to rubbish the cardinal law and the critical role played by the National Assembly and Parliament in general in advancing whatever reforms they want at IEBC?
I mean, to be honest with you, shall we build our nation on quick sand that is driven by too much political rhetoric and selfishness, or shall we stand together as brothers and sisters and agree that no matter what differences we hold, we are one indivisible nation that adheres to the rule of law?
Now, allow me to put these matters into perspective: Can you really remove the IEBC Commissioners from office by evicting them from their offices at Anniversary Towers?
Today; isn’t it foolhardy to imagine Isaack Hassan and team sleeping in their homes are no longer Commissioners if we closed their offices? Well, your answer is as good as mine.
Petition filed by Raila Odinga
I wish to acknowledge that there was a petition before parliament to remove the IEBC Commissioners from office. As soon as that petition landed in my office, I sent it to the responsible Departmental Committee – Justice and Legal Affairs.
Indeed as the chairman Hon. Chepkong’a here present will confirm, that petition was thrown out by members from both sides of the political divide ODM-Cord and Jubilee, and signatures are there to confirm, based on the fact that the petition was borrowed word to word from the Petition filed by Raila Odinga in the Supreme Court, arising from the Presidential Election dispute.
Parliament: Sorting out IEBC commissioners legal status
You all know, the case was lost. Friends, you cannot bring before parliament what has been rejected by a competent court, of all, the highest court on land Supreme Court!
Other than that, there’s been no other attempt to petition parliament to deal with the IEBC matter. But even in the absence of a petition, parliament itself is seized of the matter. In February this year, National Assembly leadership went to a retreat in Mombasa to evaluate the status of our laws in readiness for the forthcoming general elections.
Members from the majority and minority divides deliberated on key legislative proposals that the country needs to be ready for the elections. The IEBC Act, Elections Act, Political Parties Act and even the IEBC Budget for the elections.
May I also report to you here, that at no point during the retreat did we get proposals to disband the IEBC. Not from Jubilee the majority coalition or Cord, the minority coalition.
Months later, some notable Kenyans sitting outside parliament, decide that the streets were the best way to address matters of concern to the people of Kenya.
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Fellow citizens, where did this character of anti-economic prosperity, anti-intellectualism, anti-professionalism and anti-rule of law arise from?
Raila was not part of IPPG
For the avoidance of doubt, I will remind you what the Inter-Party Parliamentary Group (IPPG) of 1997 was actually a creation of parliament. It was parliamentary driven. Five parties; KANU, DP, Ford–Kenya and Ford Asili formed the IPPG.
Please note that the other parliamentary group at that time, NDP did not participate in the IPPG talks hence never benefitted from the agreement – i.e. they were not part of the agreement because it never believed in resolving the issue of electoral reforms through a parliamentary process.
(The head of NDP was Raila Odinga, who even today does not believe in resolving the issue of electoral reforms through a parliamentary process was not part of IPPG. In the 1997 General Election, Raila finished third after President Daniel arap Moi and Democratic Party (DP) candidate Mwai Kibaki. He retained his position as the Langata MP. After the election, Raila abandoned opposition team of Kibaki, Charity Ngilu and Wamalwa Kijana to support the Moi government, and led a merger between his party, NDP, and Moi’s KANU party. His scheme was to succeed Moi but come 2003 Moi opted for Uhuru Kenyatta.)
Under the current constitution parliament is obligated to conduct its business in an open manner and its sittings and those of its committees are supposed to be in public. This is so in order to facilitate public participation and involvement in its legislative and other businesses.
Through this process the other segments of society such as religious leaders, civil society, professionals and other ordinary citizens can give input to any proposed legislative and other initiatives.
The above processes are today firmly anchored in the Constitution, which was not the case both in 1997 and 2008.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today is my day to tell you that parliament and particularly the National Assembly that I head is ready for a bi-partisan approach in resolving all matters affecting the people of Kenya, with particular the IEBC matter. Let us shun the political games now, let us come to our senses and use this route to solve the matter.
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I wish to state here that the issue branded as “tyranny of numbers” that is being peddled as the reason why the matter cannot come before parliament is utter disrespect for democratic principles and the will of the people. Let me say here clearly, that the opposition is well represented in our committees.
Above all, they have significant numbers in the plenary. Now, why have these proposals not come from them at all?
Even so, ladies and gentlemen, all electoral laws are laws affecting counties. Ostensibly, these laws must pass through the Senate. The opposition has close to 50% representation in the Senate.
The other day I saw Sen. Johnstone Muthama and Sen. James Orengo being appointed to lead some “talks.” My point is, since these are people sitting in the Senate, how about effecting whatever proposals they may have through legislation?
I mean, once the National Assembly is done with these bills, we will pass them over to Senate, and I guess that will be a fantastic opportunity for the duo to effect their changes.
IEBC Act has a fundamental problem
For those who care, Schedule 1 of the IEBC Act has a fundamental problem because it talks about a Selection panel composed of 2 persons nominated by the President, two persons nominated by the Prime Minister and one person each nominated by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (KACAB), Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the Association of Professional Societies of East Africa (APSEA).
Muturi explains EIBC faulty law to the public in Embu
Now, the office of the Prime Minister and KACAB are defunct entities. Even if you went back to the Interpretation and General Provisions Act (popularly referred to as CAP 2), it would mean that the President appoints the members of the selection panel whose institutions are defunct. Don’t you think that would lean too much on one side?
My point is; even if you were to disband the IEBC today, there is no proper legal framework to guarantee selection, vetting and appointment of new commissioners. Least to say, the process would take the next six months!
That is why the National Assembly seized the matter and made consensual proposals through the Justice and Legal affairs Committee to effectively review the Act and align it with the current realities.
In the light of this, let us all of us agree that Parliament is doing what it must to ensure we are ready for elections come next year. Gone is the era when public officers were subjected to the pain of being sacked on one o’clocn news bulletin or overnight to suit political interests, because Article 47 of our Constitution talks about subjecting public officers to fair administrative action.
Parliament also enacted the Fair Administration Action Act two years ago to give effect to that provision. Besides, the same Constitution has a robust bill of rights.
You have to follow the due process and do justice to someone before you condemn them unheard.
Spare our youth some decency, Spare our country some image
As I conclude, I wish to remind all of us that elections are a political process. Matters IEBC concern the people of Kenya. Parliament is the apex of our politics, and the National Assembly deliberates and resolves issues concerning the people. You cannot therefore transact any business of politics with concerns the people of this country outside parliament.
Matters concerning the referee or rather the presiding of elections are best handled by parliament, not the streets. Spare our youth some decency, spare our country some image.
Let us follow the law and resolve these matters amicably. In me, you have a friend and ally every step of the journey.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may He bless this precious country that we Love.
I thank you, God bless you, and may God bless our Nation Kenya.“