Resign over DP Ruto links? Not me, Muturi tells MPs

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Deputy President William Ruto. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has denied allegations suggesting he is biased over his affiliation to Kenya Kwanza, which is led by Deputy President William Ruto.

Muturi, as a result, says he won’t resign as Speaker of the House, stating that the execution of his duties won’t be marred by conflict of interest.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed had said that Muturi’s links to Ruto would cloud his ability to give Fatuma Gedi a fair opportunity to produce proof linking the deputy president to illegal land acquisition.

Gedi, who is the Woman Representative for Wajir County, had in the last Parliament session on Tuesday, April 12 claimed that she was in possession of concrete evidence linking the DP to land fraud.

She claimed that Dr Ruto had grabbed land in Lang’ata, Nairobi; Trans Nzoia and Laikipia areas.

Speaker Muturi, as a result, gave her 48 hours to table the proof.

And, on Thursday, April 14, the woman representative arrived in Parliament carrying a suitcase containing the said documents that would support her allegations.

However, before she could give comprehensive details, the session was interrupted by MPs allied to Azimio la Umoja Coalition, particularly Embakasi East lawmaker Babu Owino, who was ordered out of the House.

In protest, however, Owino refused to leave, prompting Speaker Muturi to adjourn House business until Tuesday, May 10, citing disobedience of his orders.

Even as the chaos mounted, the issue on Muturi’s alleged partiality lingered on.

The Speaker had earlier vowed to stay put until the 12th Parliament is formally dissolved ahead of August 9 General Election.

“If you feel that the Speaker is biased… take it [to the bank] that the Speaker, who is before you, is unwilling to resign,” said Muturi as he presided over the April 14 sitting.

This response was triggered by Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, who posed: “You (Muturi) are the custodian of the standing orders. How safe are we that we can conduct our business in this House, and that the rule of impartiality [and] fairness will be accorded to us?”

Speaker Muturi, who is also the leader of Democratic Party, officially joined Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza camp on April 9, saying the ideals of the coalition resonated with his.

At the time, Garissa Township MP Aden Duale defended Muturi over speculation that he’d be biased against lawmakers who were not on the same side with him.

In Parliament, Speaker Muturi is presiding over MPs affiliated to different political factions, including those in Azimio la Umoja Coalition, which is Kenya Kwanza’s fiercest competitor in the upcoming polls.

The House is split down the middle, with around half the MPs subscribing to the ideals of either coalition. This poses the fairness challenge that MP Junet Mohamed raised.

Muturi has, however, assured both factions that he will dispense his duties as guided by the law.