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Kenya’s infighting hurts EALA’s calendar

By Moses Njagih | May 28th 2017 | 3 min read


The stand-off between Jubilee Party and CORD over the list of nominees to the East Africa Legislative Assembly (Eala) may once again jeopardise the regional assembly’s calendar.

The two sides were this week reading from a different script in Parliament on the composition of Kenya’s team to the regional assembly, a grand-standing that places the country on the spot with barely a week to the swearing in of new members of the fourth assembly.

Kenya came under criticism from the regional house during the constitution of Eala’s third assembly in 2012, after political squabbles marred the process of nominating its representatives.

Then, Kenya’s representatives joined the assembly late, leaving the country’s standing on the Assembly soiled.

Five years on, political protagonists are once again sharply divided, with Jubilee insisting that CORD must play by the rules of nominations. At the centre of the conflict is the decision by CORD to send only four names for approval by Parliament, a position Jubilee says is against the rules as a party is supposed to give three times the number of the slots reserved for them.

Jubilee has five slots to fill, while CORD has four.

Saturday, National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale said the House will not proceed with the mater until CORD plays by the rules and sends eight more names to the House.

“We will not discuss anything if they do not comply. They must add eight more names. A political party is required to nominate thrice the number of slots given to it to afford the House the opportunity to vote. Anything short of this denies the House the right of choice,” argued Duale.

Quorum hitch

On the other hand, CORD leadership in the National Assembly has accused Jubilee of frustrating the selection, and insists it will not give more names.

“Duale wants to force us to provide extra names to the four we have given. They are employing every trick to force their way. We will not go their way,” said the Minority Whip Thomas Mwadeghu.

Debate on the report was thwarted on Thursday evening when the National Assembly adjourned early for lack of quorum, suspiciously under the instigation of Duale, who notified Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso that there were no sufficient numbers to transact business.

Opposition leaders say the move by Duale was a tactical one to frustrate the picking of Kenya’s team to Eala.

Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi joined Mwadeghu in protesting the adjournment, saying it was a malicious move by Jubilee to create a crisis in the House and stall the process.

Memusi claimed that Jubilee was divided on who to pick among their 15 nominees, hence the delay tactics.

“They have now resorted to creating unnecessary crisis by engaging in delaying tactics. It is wrong to stall the whole process because of selfish interests,” said Memusi.

Oath of office

But Duale exonerated himself from blame, saying Opposition MPs were at liberty to ensure their members were in the House to force a quorum and take the debate forward.

“Mwadeghu is the Opposition Whip, he should have been the one lobbying members from his coalition to be present in the House. Some of the MPs were just within the precincts of Parliament, but he did not whip them to return to the House,” he said.

But even as the squabbles rage on, Eala Clerk Kenneth Madete confirmed that the oath of office and commencement of the sitting will be held on June 5, a day after the life of the Third Assembly ends.

“The clerk of the Eala takes this opportunity to congratulate you upon your election to the esteemed office of a Member of the Fourth Assembly,” he stated in the letter dated May 22, indicating that all members must be in Arusha, where the Assembly is stationed by June 2.

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