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MPs ought to show leadership in chambers

By Editorial | Feb 11th 2015 | 2 min read

Parliament resumed its sittings yesterday after the December recess which came soon after the chaotic debate on the Security Laws (Amendment) Act 2014.

The House calendar is full with Bills that must be passed within a given time frame. These include the Supplementary Budget Bill, Public Audit Bill, Public Procurement Bill, Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill and the vetting of the proposed Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett.

The Bills in question must be debated and passed by March 27, 2015 and the public's expectation is that sobriety will prevail during deliberations. The trend set in previous sessions when motions were largely passed on the basis of the ruling party's numerical strength in the House than for their worth should be a thing of the past. We all appreciate the fact that as one of the three arms of Government, the Legislature plays a pivotal role in shaping the destiny of the country, hence the need for objectivity.

Early indications are that Jubilee legislators are intent on having their colleagues from the Cord side whom they accuse of causing the chaos on December 18, 2014 punished.

The leader of majority in the National parliament, Aden Duale has been quoted as saying his party has a strategy to contain the minority. This does not auger well for harmony in Parliament.

Both sides of the political divide in the House were guilty of misdemeanour, but the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi bears the greatest responsibility for the unbecoming behaviour of the honourables. Put it another way, Mr Muturi authored and presided over the chaos that engulfed the august House.

Standing Orders stipulate that the Speaker cannot make a ruling when two Members are on the floor at the same time, Mr Muturi went ahead and negated this amid the chaotic scenes relayed live to the audience. In tearing Order Papers, pouring water on the Speaker and going physical, some of Cord MPs, including their Jubilee counterparts who tore Senator Johnson Muthama's trousers and punched Senator Moses Wetangula, exceeded the bounds of decency.

Though despicable, events of that day should not guide debate on the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill. Members of Parliament must safeguard the dignity of the august House.

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