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Petitioner seeks two-term limit for MPs

By Brian Otieno | October 5th 2021
Parliament building [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A petitioner wants the National Assembly to amend the law to ensure that Members of Parliament serve for a maximum of two terms.

Mr Gachuki wants the National Assembly to amend Articles 102, 148 and 180 and other related provisions so to limit the term of office of the deputy president, the Speakers of National Assembly and Senate, MPs, deputy governors and MCAs.

Jonah Gachuki argues that it was discriminatory to have term limit for the president and governors and let the other elected leaders serve at their pleasure.

“The petitioner is therefore praying that the National Assembly amends Articles 102, 148 and 180 and other related provisions so as to limit the term of office for the above-listed elective positions to a maximum of two terms as is the case for the president and county governors,” National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi read the petition yesterday.

Article 148 of the Constitution, guiding the office of the deputy president, addresses the same limits that Gachuki seeks to have in place.

“A person shall not hold office as Deputy President for more than two terms,” reads Article 148 (8) of the Constitution.

Similarly, Article 180 (7) (b) restricts deputy governors to two terms in office, rendering Gachuki’s petition moot in this regard.

Article 102, which addresses the term of Parliament, does not prescribe any limits. The proposed law could see the career of an MP, which can run for decades, cut short.

Over the years, MPs have defended their seats in elections. Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi – the longest serving member of the National Assembly – has served five terms since winning in a 1994 by-election, only losing out in 2007 to Richard Onyonka.

At the Senate, Busia Senator Amos Wako holds the record for parliamentary service, though he served 20 years as the Attorney General, an ex-officio MP. He has served at the Senate since 2013.

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri has served as a lawmaker since 1996, with Siaya Senator James Orengo being a legislator for 23 years, having been elected as Ugenya MP in 1980, earning five years in the cold from 2002 to 2007. Others are Senators Moses Wetangula (Bungoma) and Beth Mugo (nominated).

Some of the MPs in their fourth terms are Gideon Konchella (Kilgoris) Adan Keynan (Eldas), Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi),Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Samwel Muoroto (Kapenguria), Dr Naomi Shaban (Taveta), Katoo ole Metito (Kajiado South, Jubilee), Cecily Mbarire (nominated)and Maina Kamanda (Nomianted).

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