“If it was not for me, these names could have passed in December last year,” said Midiwo, adding the excuse “I questioned the procedure,” to explain the new stand.
Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo has also somersaulted on the requirement that MPs hold university degrees.
Last year when the House passed the Elections Bill, he had voted against the requirement that MPs hold a university degree.
This month he championed calls to impose a degree, then at some point was among members passing a petition to lower the academic credentials, before seeing to it that a proposed waiver for MPs and councillors on high academic qualifications was lifted.
“We should support the requirement for university degrees,” Medical Services Assistant minister Kazungu Kambi, who expects to graduate at Baraton University, said this week. Kambi voted against the provision last year.
The position of politicians on the Mombasa Republican Council has also swung like a pendulum, as rivals battle to court the Coast.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga told Parliament on March 14 that the Government would only talk to MRC if they renounced violence and stopped secession calls.
But addressing ODM supporters in Likoni, the PM backed unconditional talks with the group because “MRC is speaking my language”.
This apparently was to counter his opponent, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, who had – contrary to the Government position – stated that his United Democratic Forum would negotiate with MRC.
ODM and UDF scrambled to sponsor Motions to establish separate ad hoc committees on the MRC, but Speaker Kenneth Marende rejected the moves.
Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni authored the UDF Motion yet his reaction to the PM’s statement in Parliament indicated that he objected to the Government treating the MRC with kid gloves.
“We have had young Kikuyu men who were associated with the outlawed Mungiki sect. They were shot all over senselessly and never given an opportunity to the point where their leader was jailed,” Kioni said.
Prior, MPs shocked the country when they suddenly dropped their fight for better terms for bank borrowers, apparently appeased by a Sh3.7 million each sweeter in gratuity.
The protracted standoff over the Finance Bill occasioned by members’ resolve to control interest rates eased when the Government dangled the “golden handshake”. When the amendment by Midiwo was moved on April 20, MPs — who had even defied President Kibaki and the PM — made a dramatic U-turn.
The Government won the vote to oppose interest rate caps by 58-17. Among those who voted against controlling interest caps was Wajir West MP Adan Keynan, who had chaired a Parliamentary Select Committee investigation on the rapid depreciation of the shilling.
Finance Assistant Minister Oburu Oginga reportedly sent one of the text messages inviting MPs allied to ODM for “lunch” at Gazebo Grill restaurant while his boss Njeru Githae hosted other MPs at another deal-making “lunch” at the Panafric hotel.