CORD MPs kicked out in day of chaos

Some Opposition legislators who were expelled from Parliament after disrupting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation address yesterday. [Photo: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD]

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi was yesterday forcibly evicted from Parliament after he defied the Speaker’s order to leave the House.

Mr Wandayi was among Opposition MPs who were ordered out for disrupting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation address.

The lawmakers waved placards, blew whistles and jeered the President ostensibly to protest Government excesses and rhetoric on crucial national issues.

Following his forcible expulsion, Wandayi will be out of Parliament for the rest of the session- effectively for the rest of the year, during which time he will not have access to the chamber, his parliamentary office and the precincts of Parliament.

The group of about 30 MPs on the left side of the President made noise for three minutes. Then, as abruptly as they had risen, they sat down. Speaker Justin Muturi reminded them they had to hear the President in silence.

Orange Democratic Movement national chairman John Mbadi, with a whistle in his mouth, lifted a placard reading ‘Ethnicity is killing the country’. Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) also had a placard written ‘No more PR (public relations). Save the nation’.

TJ Kajwang’ (Ruaraka) also waved another with the words “Jubilee are thieves”. Oburu Oginga (nominated), Irshad Sumra (Embakasi South), and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba MP) had placards too. President Kenyatta, his security bosses watching from the Speaker’s Gallery and his  elite guard viewing from the diplomatic booths, sat quietly looking at the MPs. When the spectacle started, President Kenyatta laughed.

The MPs ignored Speaker Muturi’s plea for silence, forcing him to enforce the Standing Orders and have them expelled. Wandayi was the first one to be expelled but he refused to go out, forcing Speaker Muturi to direct parliamentary orderlies to force him out.

Some 15 parliamentary orderlies descended on Wandayi. They grabbed his hands, yanked them off the seat, two grabbed his neck, some scrambled for his waist and together, they carried him away as he shouted, “Kill me now! Haki ya mungu sitoki (I swear I will not leave). I have refused! I am not going out!”

Pushed Out

The orderlies found the nearest door and pushed Wandayi through it, then they escorted him out of the precincts of Parliament.

Mbadi (Suba), Fred Outa (Nyando), Millie Mabona (Mbita) and T.J Kajwang (Ruaraka) were expelled from the chamber in quick succession, before they were joined by Simba Arati (Dagoretti North) and Senator Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay). But for some like Millie Mabona, it was not without drama. She stood at her place, fished out her make-up kit from her handbag, and in the full glare of everyone, with a tiny brush on one hand, and a tiny mirror on the other, she powdered her face and brushed her hair. She did so quietly. Slowly.

“This was a special day. We could not just sit and watch the President hoodwink Kenyans. There is nothing that stops a member from raising a point of order on the floor of the House. We were not interrupting the President’s speech. This is a democratic country, and will not accept to be taken back,” said Mbadi.

Across the National Assembly metal grills, Wandayi addressed the Press and claimed he was protesting the performance of the Jubilee government and the President’s attempt to hoodwink Kenyans through the speech.

He claimed he had tried to raise a point of order but was not accorded an opportunity by the Speaker.

Unlike Wandayi, who was directed out by the orderlies, others who were expelled stood outside the main entrance to the chamber waving placards and loudly protesting the Speaker’s decision. They said the President’s speech was a public relations exercise.

“The Speaker refused to listen to the voice of reason. I want to tell this government that you can do what you want to, but you cannot roll back the clock of history,” said Wandayi.