Speaker Kingi lifts suspension of Sifuna from Senate

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi has lifted an order suspending Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna from the House after he was accused of attempting to disrupt the Speaker procession last week.

Kingi had suspended Sifuna from participating in House proceedings for three sittings following an altercation with Nominated Senator Veronica Maina on July 18 where he was accused of shouting at the Speakers procession.

The Speaker said the Nairobi senator appealed the decision which raised key issues he was supposed to respond to and it would take time to determine.

"I have resolved to lift the suspension on Senator Sifuna following an appeal he has made since he has raised pertinent issues which I have to respond to and by the time, I would have done it, he would have completed his three days suspension," he said.

Kingi barred Sifuna from accessing chambers, offices, committee rooms, lounges and dining halls for whatever reasons and ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure compliance. The suspension is expected to lapse on midnight Thursday.

The senator in his appeal said the Speaker had not made any attempts to notify him that a report had been made or availed details of his alleged misconduct. He further argued that he had not been afforded an opportunity to be heard and to challenge the accounts of Nominated Senator Maina and the Sergeant-at-Arms as to the events of the day in question.

"It is my position that had you heard from me and other members both in the chamber and the lounge on the material day, especially regarding the disgraceful conduct of Senator Maina you would have reached a different verdict. It is my prayer that you vacate the decision made in violation of my rights under the Constitution and the rules of natural justice," said Sifuna.

The Nominated Senator a member of the Speaker's Panel was on the day in question the temporary Speaker and was leading the procession out of the chamber after the House adjourned when Sifuna is alleged to have shouted shame! shame! shame! on the walkway from the Senate chamber.

Kingi said that the procession proceeded to the Speaker’s Office in the usual manner with Maina retreating to the Senate Lounge where she engaged Sifuna on why he was shouting at the Speaker’s Procession after which a verbal altercation ensued.

"Officers of the Sergeant-at-Arms and a number of senators who were in the room intervened in a bid to calm down the two senators and defuse the engagement, which would have otherwise resulted in an unpleasant physical exchange," he said.

The Speaker on February 28 issued a communication expressing concern at the state of affairs in the conduct of the proceedings of the Senate in the few sittings that followed the commencement of the Second Session on the 14th of the same month.

Kingi said that a number of senators had exhibited outright abuse of privilege and there was need to maintain decorum and order in the Senate and appealed to members to utilise other avenues for addressing grievances, instead of resorting to outright disorder, in the event that one is not pleased with the directives of the Speaker or the Chair.

"A report on what transpired on July 18, 2023, was submitted to my Office by the Chief Sergeant-at-Arms, I have made a determination that the actions of Senator Sifuna in shouting as he did at the procession of the Speaker amounted to a disruption of the Speaker’s Procession and constitute gross disorderly conduct," he said.