Ruto team loses bid to remove ‘offensive’ clause from coalition Bill

A screenshot of Members of Parliament during a special sitting on January 5, 2022.

MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto have lost an attempt to remove a clause spelling the time frame for entering a coalition agreement.

Forces behind President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga marshalled 128 MPs against 104 to defeat a proposed amendment by Garissa Township Aden Duale.

Duale had sought to have Clause 8 amendment by deleting a requirement that parties enter coalition at least six months to the August poll.

The clause provides that “in the case of a coalition political party, the coalition political party shall submit the coalition agreement at least six months before a general election.”

Subsequently, backers of the Azimio La Umoja successfully pushed for an amendment to reduce the period from the initial six months to 120 days.

This implies that parties seeking to enter coalitions will have to deposit such agreements with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) by April 9.

The decision saw tempers flare in the House temporarily forcing sergeant at arms to restrain some lawmakers from obstructing Kimunya from prosecuting his amendments.

Ruto’s camp had claimed that the requirement was meant to bulldoze political parties to enter coalition parties when they are not ready.

Duale claimed the clause was meant to help Raila cobble a coalition to propel him to the presidency.

“My honest opinion is that this house should not be used as a decoy to achieving selfish interest and sanitize the character of certain leaders and parties known for political deceit every time they enter a coalition with other leaders,” claimed Duale.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa allowing the clause will block other parties from entering the coalition due to the set deadline.

“We cannot legislate to create hindrance to the formation of coalition party. We want to put roadblocks for others to create coalitions in the country. This clause is designed to blackmail certain individuals into joining a particular group,” said Ichung’wa.

But Kimunya said the requirement was meant to have parties make their deals formal by deposing the agreement with the registrar.

“By deleting this clause, it means parties will form a coalition without depositing the agreement with the Office of the Political Parties. This will be mischievous because some people may choose to enter without making it official,” said Kimunya.

Uhuru and Raila seek to create a monolithic Narc-like party for next year's elections.

The grand plan is to have provisions that will allow political parties to field candidates jointly across the country under the newly unveiled movement.

The aim is to prevent the self-cannibalisation of parties and candidates supporting the Azimio movement, through which Raila is expected to vie for the presidency.

The Standard has learnt that Uhuru and Raila have lined up at least 10 political parties in crafting the Azimio La Umoja Movement – a coalition of like-minded political parties that seek to propel the latter to State House.

Some of the outfits set to be part of the movement launched by Raila at a political extravaganza at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani, Nairobi, on December 10, are Jubilee, ODM, the newly formed Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) associated with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Upya Movement linked to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

Others are Maendeleo Chap Chap of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Party of National Unity (PNU), Ubuntu People’s Forum linked to Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Narc of Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Kenya Union Party (KUP) of Governor John Lonyangapuo.