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National Speaker Justin Muturi presents his recommendations to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce led by Senator Yusuf Haji in Nairobi on March 10, 2020.[Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Politics
Muturi says the culture of negotiations between election losers and winners is an infringement on voters' rights

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has lashed out at the political culture of winner-loser negotiations entrenched in Kenyan politics under the premise of peace-making, terming it an infringement on voters’ rights.

While presenting his proposals to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force at the Laico Hotel, Nairobi, Muturi proposed a raft of structural changes in elections, governance and administration of justice.

Muturi submitted that the culture of negotiations between election losers and winners, which is common in the country after every election cycle was violating voters’ rights.

He said that voters exercise their rights to determine winners and losers, and when individuals strike such deals behind closed doors, their rights are subsequently violated.

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Also, of great concern to him was the political fanaticism built around individuals who use the political parties as mere conduits which they dump at will after achieving their agenda.

“Political competition in Kenya has been more about individuals wearing political party t-shirts than it has been about political parties,” he said.

He told the taskforce that Kenyan voters had been made to believe that they can only vote for individuals and not political parties and the ideologies they represent.

It is a political behaviour which Muturi said can be blamed for the volatility of Kenyan politics. According to the Speaker, by following and voting for individuals; Kenyan voters expose themselves to a negative competition that implant hatred after some candidates lose in the elections.

He told the Haji team “individuals running for political seats should do so in political parties and not individuals.  People should exercise their power through electing leaders in political parties.”

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As part of his proposals, and based on his drive to strengthen the political parties, Muturi proposed that the provision which allows candidates to run as Independent contestants be abolished.

Without giving names, Muturi said that there is a famous politician who has used six political parties to win different seats since 1992. He said that the same practice of defecting from parties was employed by former President Mwai Kibaki and his successor Uhuru Kenyatta, who all won their second terms on different party tickets.

In another controversial proposal that could ignite debate, Muturi proposes that political parties which fail to clinch any elective seat after election be deregistered. He also told the team that the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties should be made independent and strengthened.

He supported BBI’s proposal to make the Senate the Upper House but warned that there should be defined roles assigned to both Houses.

He also said that he supports the nomination of a person of the opposite gender to occupy the position of a deputy governor.

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During the BBI hearings, the representation issue has been contentious with certain people pushing for one-man-one-vote as others argue that elected members can be representative. Muturi said that the county needs to adopt a one-man-one-vote system and leadership be taken up by a party of majority seats. He proposed that the party with second-most seats ought to be the main opposition party and its leader given oversight roles.

Judiciary

Speaker Muturi further appeared to be questioning the Judiciary on challenging decisions made by the President. He argues that such a mandate should be assigned to Parliaments because such decisions are political. He wants the Senate to be the House to participate in the appointment of judges alongside the Judicial Service Commission and the President.

He in the proposals encourages that the Judiciary be more proactive in reviewing legal decisions taken by other arms of government. He said that includes the power of review of decisions of other arms of government to abide by the separation of power.

The taskforce team ends public hearing today (March) but still has up to June 30, 2020, to finish its work.  Thereafter, the task force team will attend town hall meetings where they will note down regional issues before two final rallies scheduled for Nakuru and Nairobi.

SEE ALSO: MP writes to Speaker over senior KRA officer sent on forced leave


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