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MPs pass Motion on UN intervention in Migingo dispute

By | May 28th 2009

Kenya and Uganda were thrown into a diplomatic quandary when Parliament passed a Motion urging the President to seek the intervention of the UN Security Council in resolving the dispute over Migingo Island.

MPs scoffed at the "act of aggression by Uganda" and resolved that the matter merited to be referred to the highest UN security organ.

They said Uganda’s actions over Migingo constituted "a threat to international peace and security" under the UN Charter. Parliament gave President Kibaki the greenlight to deploy the military to protect Migingo, an island on Lake Victoria that Uganda has laid claim to.

Dr Bonny Khalwale’s (Ikolomani, New Ford-K) Motion allowed the President to "use all resources and options at his disposal to reclaim Kenyan land in accordance with the Constitution".

Acrimonious debate

Yesterday, after an acrimonious debate, backbenchers won a verbal vote to push through the Motion, which demands the withdrawal of Ugandan security forces on Kenyan soil.

New Standing Orders mandate the House Implementation Committee to spell out sanctions to a minister who fails to implement motions passed.

An attempt by the Government side to force a division — a physical count — flopped since only 16 MPs, led by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, stood on their feet.

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House rules require at least 20 for a division to take place.

Four Assistant ministers—Kareke Mbiuki, Ayiecho Olweny, Elizabeth Ongoro and Oburu Oginga — declined to stand.

There were 49 members — 23 on the Opposition and 26 on the Government side — during the conclusion of the sensitive Motion, which was sabotaged a fortnight ago by a Government walkout.

Earlier, Mr Wetangula led the Government opposition to the Motion, saying it would jeorpadise relations with a "friendly nation".

He said President Kibaki and his Ugandan counterpart, President Yoweri Museveni, had pledged to resolve the dispute diplomatically and a joint commission to review boundaries was doing so.

The minister termed "fallacious" reference of the dispute to the United Nations Security Council, arguing that regional avenues to arbitrate over ownership of the island had not been exhausted.

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