Senate votes on coalitions Bill, giving Raila and Ruto a lifeline
| Jan 27th 2022 | 4 min read
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga were last evening poised for a major win in their quest to form a major coalition party ahead of the August presidential contest.
This was after senators passed the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021 by a margin of 29 to 7. The Bill is seeking to allow political parties to form a coalition party.
By the time of going to press, the Bill was in its third reading.
Should it pass, as it was expected, the victory for Uhuru and Raila will also benefit other political formations, including the newly-formed Kenya Kwanza coalition of Deputy President William Ruto, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula.
The One Kenya Alliance — which brings together Wiper and Kanu — will also benefit should they choose to form a coalition party.
Last evening, a total of 29 delegations (senators) voted in support of the Bill against seven members who opposed it at the Second Reading stage. The Bill requires the backing of at least 24 delegations.
Delegation refers to elected senators, who are the only ones allowed to vote.
Should it sail through without any changes, Uhuru is expected to sign it into law.
The grand plan by the handshake partners was to have a law that will allow political parties to field joint candidates across the country under a coalition party. The initial aim was to prevent self-cannibalisation of parties and candidates supporting the Azimio la Umoja Movement, through which Raila is expected to vie for the presidency.
However, once the Bill becomes law, any coalition will be free to benefit from it, including that led by Ruto, whose allies opposed the Bill.
“You are forming a coalition party; we are also forming a coalition party. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander,” Senator Johnson Sakaja told the House during debate. “If it’s a bad law, it is going to be bad for everyone.”
Senators Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a), Petronila Were (Nominated), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Enoch Wambua (Kitui), Samson Cheragei (Nandi) and Isaac Mwaura (Nominated) were some of the lawmakers who had filed proposed amendments to the Bill.
Kang’ata had sought to have clause 22 that provides for methods of conducting party primaries deleted. The clause provides for direct and indirect nominations. Direct nomination involves voting by registered party members while indirect involves delegates certified by the Registrar of Political Parties.
Cherargei had proposed amendments seeking to expunge the requirement that only registered party members can participate in a nomination.
Wambua, an ally of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, dropped his proposed amendments. He had sought to amend clause seven of the Bill that has exempted accounts of political parties from being audited.
Earlier in the day, Ruto allies had staged a spirited opposition against the Bill, describing it as a tool designed for selfish political interests. They argued that giving the registrar more powers could be misused to disenfranchise certain political players at the nomination stage.
Murkomen described the Bill as “terrible, hopeless and useless” while warning his colleagues from the rival camp that they would be the first victims of the law.
Similar opposition came from Cherargei, who accused the Senate Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights of allegedly being influenced by external forces in writing its reports.
However, they were too few to make to make any meaningful change in the second reading and the president’s allies easily carried the day.
The report prepared by the committe had recommended that the Bill be passed without any amendments. Any changes would have made it necessary to take the Bill back to the National Assembly.
“When you look at the decisions and arguments given by the committee in this report, it looks like the committee was given instructions not to touch anything. These amendments are illegal and are being used to fight political wars,” said Cherargei.
Senator Sakaja, who has been critical of the Bill, interestingly backed it by stating that if the law would be bad it will hurt every political player.
Sakaja cited the 2013 primaries by the The National Alliance where the registrar could not provide the party with its membership list.
“These rules will not be applied to only one side of the elections,” Sakaja said.
Vihiga Senator George Khaniri also supported the Bill, describing it as a good piece of legislation because it gives clear guidelines on formation of coalitions.
“As a House we must always endeavour to pass laws that add value, improve service delivery to the people and improve on governance,” he said.
MPs to convene over House Business Committee motionMembers of Parliament will convene on Tuesday next week to avert a crisis caused by rejection of a motion to reconstitute the House Business Committee
Bizarre tale of woman in homicide-suicide saga who lived double lifeA bizarre tale has emerged after the suicide of a 28-year-old woman who also poisoned her two young daughters at Ithanga.
I do not own Keroche Breweries, Tabitha Karanja says
- Museveni's first son Muhoozi: clear signs of a succession plan
- Want to sue me? Deposit Sh50 million in court - Sonko
- Six people arrested for disrupting Karua's political meetings in Kirinyaga last week
By Jane Mugambi
- Azimio-One Kenya coalition unveils 16 campaign teams
- Reconsider plans to run for presidency, Kalonzo told
By Mate Tongola