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Speaker Muturi’s ban forces MPs to assent to House team

By Alphonce Shiundu | February 12th 2015

NAIROBI: A ban on meetings of all committees in the National Assembly Wednesday pushed reluctant lawmakers to approve the formation of a key team that sets the agenda for debate in the House.

Speaker Justin Muturi imposed the ban on committee meetings because the lawmakers had refused to approve a list of their colleagues to the crucial House Business Committee.

“All committees are hereby banned. If we don’t have a House Business Committee of what use is there for all those other committees to sit,” posed Muturi

It was the threat of missing allowances for the second day of the Third Session that made the MPs drop their resistance to the nominees. The MPs were bitter that Mithika Linturi (Igembe South) and Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) had been retained in the crucial team from the last session whereas they had failed their colleagues.

Wanga emptied a bottle of cold drinking water on the head of Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso in the chaotic sitting of December 18, 2014 where MPs were unruly.

They said such behaviour was not “dignified”.

With Linturi, the House has never forgiven him or forgotten his failure to push through a proposed Motion to impeach Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.

The only replacement was Thomas Mwadeghu, the ODM and Minority Chief Whip who takes over from Gideon Mung’aro. Mung’aro was dropped in October 2014 by ODM.

The Speaker had to wield the big stick of banning committee meetings and freezing committee allowances — MPs are paid Sh7,500 per sitting — for the MPs to see the urgency to form the House Business Committee.

Without the crucial team, MPs usually don’t have anything to do. Even if they sit within their committees, all their reports have to be approved by the House Business Committee and scheduled for debate.

“There’s no need for committees to sit and to listen to witnesses and others when you have nowhere to take your report. It will be an exercise in futility,” the Speaker told the House.

James Nyikal (Seme) rallied his colleagues to drop their push to drop Linturi and Wanga, because they wanted to turn a new leaf.

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