Nominated Senator Gloria Orwoba has been suspended for six months by the Senate after the house adopted recommendation made by the Powers and Privileges Committee chaired by Senate Speaker Amason Kingi.
Orwoba was accused for making unsubstantiated allegations of sexual favours by some parliamentary officials.
She was also accused for alleging that there was discrimination in parliament by posting various messages on the Senate Business WhatsApp group.
The Senators in a majority vote decided to suspend Senator Orwoba in a move that could lead to her losing hefty perks and other personal benefits as a Senator until February next year when she will be required to appear before the house and apologise before being readmitted.
Following the decision made by the house, Senator Orwoba will be restricted from accessing the precincts of parliament for the entire period of suspension neither will she be allowed to attend senate plenary and committee sessions and there will lose out on the sitting allowances.
The Powers and Privileges Committee report stated that despite Senator Orwoba being granted an opportunity to appear before the committee to back up her claims she did not turn up which raised serious concerns about whether the allegation she had made were true.
“Senator Gloria Orwoba was given an opportunity to be heard by the Powers and Privileges Committee but the Senator declined to participate in the inquiry therefore the committee could not substantiate the claims she made,” said the report by the committee chaired by Speaker Kingi.
Senator Orwoba was also accused of disrespecting fellow senators by publishing information that was disrespectful to her colleagues, imputing improper motive on fellow Senators, a charge that was also substantiated by the Senator failing to appear before the committee to defend herself.
Vihiga Senator Gofrey Osotsi supported the motion saying that it was important for senators to align themselves to the conduct of the previous two parliaments where Senators conducted themselves with decorum where members had serious divergent views but respected themselves in the house.
Osotsi said that she sat in the same committee with Orwoba where she said that members wanted to kill her bill after which she was advised to align her technopolis bill with that of the ministry but she went ahead in social media to criticize her fellow committee members in social media for voting against the bill.
“We have also seen the manner he has subjected the Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye who is very professional in his conduct and deserves respect with his illustrious career in the Senate, I fully support this motion to serve as a lesson to others with similar intentions,” said Osotsi.
The Vihiga said that Orwoba must come back to the house and apologise to the house and the clerk for blackmailing him since her precedent must be set that members must adhere to decorum set in the conduct of members.
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna supported the motion to suspend the Senator for six months saying that it was unfortunate that the Senator was given an opportunity to back her claims but failed to turn up in two occasions hence the evidence provided was not substantive to sustain charges in court.
“Senator Orwoba was given an opportunity to be heard to back up her claims but she failed to turn up on the two occasions that the Powers and Privileges Committee conducted it sittings, Clerk Nyegenye has restrained himself, I support the punishment prescribed by the committee,” said Sifuna.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale while supporting the motion asked young female Senators to go and read the history of the late Nobel Peace Prize Winner Prof Wangari Mathai, Chelagat Mutai, the late Phoebe Asiyo, the first female MP Grace Onyango, former Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, and former nominated Senator Dr Agnes Zani.
Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah said that the report before the house is not a gender issue and that the name Orwoba could be removed and substitute with Sifuna and the report would still stand and that it should be noted that she was given a chance to substantiate her claims but failed to do so.
“Let my fellow senators opposing this report keep out the gender issue in this matter since Senator Orwoba was given a chance to prove her allegations before the powers and privileges committee twice but she did not turn up” said Omtatah.
Kirinyaga Senator James Murango opposed the motion to suspend Senator Orwoba saying that it was punitive against the Senator compared to punishment meted to other legislators who have broken house rules and have been left to get away scot-free wondering whether this was because she was a woman.
Nominated Senator Karen Nyamu opposed the motion saying male senators have misbehaved in the house and gotten away with it wondering whether Orwoba was being victimised for being a woman calling for the house to reconsider the punitive measure.