Police cordoned Parliament to protect MPs, says Ichung'wah

National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichungwa’h speaking on the floor of the house on Thursday. [Courtesy, PBU]

National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichungwa’h now says it was necessary for police to cordon Parliament buildings to protect legislators debating the contentious Finance Bill 2024.

Ichungwa’h, on Thursday said he had spoken to Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome who averred that organised groups were planning to invade Parliament and harm MPs.

"The Inspector General of Police confirmed to me mid-morning that there were organised groups who had planned to take siege of Parliament and criminal elements who also intended to use the ongoing peaceful demonstrations under the pretext of the peaceful demonstrations to access Parliament and cause harm to MPs," he told the House. 

The MP was responding to minority leader Opiyo Wandayi who called for the withdrawal of the officers claiming the move was intimidating the Members of Parliament.

Wandayi claimed cordoning off Parliament was causing unnecessary tension in the country.

"I am not concerned with whatever else is happening for now. But my concern is that Parliament has actually been put under siege and this is causing unnecessary tension in the country. I said in the morning that we are not under a state of emergency and this country is not a police state.” 

"This is the highest organ of our democracy. Could we get a report on what is actually happening and an assurance that this House remains independent and free to transact its business as mandated by the Constitution. Otherwise, we shall be acting now under some kind of duress because the MPs will now be acting under coercion," said Wandayi.

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo concurred with Wandayi saying MPs did not need to be shielded from Kenyans.

"There is no reason to blockade Parliament. I know that we will vote, those who choose to vote the way they choose to vote, will be seen by Kenyans. Let this house be accessible," said Amollo.

The voting for second reading is expected to start at 3.30pm. If more MPs vote in the Bill's favour, it will move to the Committee of the Whole House.