Mr Speaker, Sir, on this matter you are clearly out of order

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula during a plennary sittig at the Parliament buildings November 15, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula should now settle down and conduct himself in the public eye as an impartial arbiter in the august House, not like an agent of the ruling coalition.

As a Speaker, Mr Wetangula must be reminded that the office he holds as envisioned in the Constitution must be an independent arm of government, just like the Presidency and the Judiciary.

Seeing him address two major presidential rallies over the weekend left me wondering whether he was speaking on behalf of the Parliament that he heads or as a Ford Kenya leader.

He thanked Kenyans for voting for President William Ruto and the entire Kenya Kwanza, leadership forgetting that at the moment, he is the head of all MPs elected to the House from all political parties.

He was even given the onus of inviting Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi to speak, a responsibility that in a way implied he was miles below Mr Mudavadi.

Even if as per our constitution a Speaker must be fronted by a political wing, the moment one ascends to that office, he or she is expected to shed off the tag of party affiliation and be strictly be impartial and be seen to be impartial.

It is obvious that any government will want to have a Speaker and a House it controls for easy passage of bills and budgets and rejection of unfriendly audit reports presented, but a speaker should not be a cheer leader in functions presided over by the ruling party.

It is for impartiality reason that the law requires elected MPs to first resign before being voted for as Speakers to ensure the holder of the office doesn't get consumed in the interests of a constituency.

For our democracy to grow, the Speaker must always remain an umpire who ensures all have equal opportunities once on the floor of the House. We should not have a situation where one feels the chair will eventually influence the outcome of a debate.

I fear that at public rallies addressed by a popular president like Ruto is, a number of policy statements can easily be made.

Once made in the presence of a Speaker, chances are high that once brought to the House either through a bill or through a public petition the speaker can easily be swayed.

His participation in almost all State functions compromises his impartiality as a speaker.

Chief Justice Martha Koome appeared at a few functions graced by the president but ended up eliciting sharp criticism. The same should now apply to the National Assembly Speaker.

It is notable that past Speakers, among them Justin Muturi, rarely attended rallies.

Wherever you go kindly carry the independence of that office with you.

Mr Omanga is a media practitioner. [email protected]