Why recalling your area MP is a stale dream- Lawyer

Speaker Moses Wetangula leads parliamentary proceedings at Parliament, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Since Thursday, Kenyans have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the Finance Bill 2024, using the hashtag #RespectMyHustle. 

The online movement has seen citizens reach out to their MPs via calls and texts, urging them to reject the proposed legislation.

Amidst the digital uproar, some have even threatened to impeach their representatives should they support the bill. This has raised questions about the feasibility of recalling an MP.

Shadrack Wambui, a constitutional lawyer, shed light on the matter in an interview with The Standard.

“The idea of recalling an MP has become an unattainable dream,” said Wambui.

He elaborated that the Constitution imposes restrictions, preventing the removal of an MP until they have served for at least two years post-election.

This milestone will be reached in August 2024, while the law also advises against such actions within a year of elections.

Wambui observed that the Constitution’s provisions are insufficient, lacking clarity on the recall process.

“Article 24 empowers them to establish recall rules, yet no guidelines have been formulated to date,” he explained.

Due to these constitutional gaps, the process remains unclear to citizens.

Wambui suggested, “Kenyans could alternatively picket and demonstrate at the MPs’ offices.”

He advised those intent on pursuing a recall to seek legal recourse, compelling Parliament to establish the necessary legislation.

Article 45 of the Constitution allows for the recall of an MP before the end of their term on specific grounds, such as violation of Chapter Six or mismanagement of public resources.

However, this can only be initiated following a High Court ruling confirming these grounds.

The law also states that an MP’s office becomes vacant upon death or absence from eight consecutive parliamentary sessions without approval.