What you need to know:
- Kenyans hope the senators will walk the talk and prove that theirs is, indeed, a “house of reason”.
- The Senators should give Kenyans a law whose processing can be deemed to have been in line with the law.
On Tuesday, the Senate began debating the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2021 with more than four proposed amendments already on the table. The proposed law, which is expected to pave the way for coalition parties, was passed by the National Assembly on January 5 after days of ugly scenes and acrimony that saw lawmakers shamefully hurl water bottles at one another.
Without a doubt, the Bill was bound to be a hot potato, what with deep-seated perceptions that it seeks to advance the interests of one camp just a few months to the August elections. Already, there are perceptions in the opposing camp that some of the amendments being proposed fit into a well-choreographed filibuster ploy to have the entire Bill quashed.
But it is gratifying that, on the day of its first reading, top senators gave assurances that there would be neither fisticuffs nor the kind of unfortunate choice of words Kenyans witnessed during the publicly televised National Assembly sessions.
House of reason
Kenyans hope the senators will walk the talk and prove that theirs is, indeed, a “house of reason”, where power of oratory, intellectual finesse and persuasion must carry the day on any matter. Violence is abhorrent and has no place in legislation.
As the proposed law proceeds to the crucial public participation phase, there is a need for senators to rise above partisan and transient considerations and give Kenyans a law whose processing can be deemed to have been in line with the law.
The fact that the Bill touches on the emotive matter of elections should not necessarily cloud sobriety and good sense. As a matter of fact, it presents the senators with a historic opportunity to provide leadership on a matter that could set the mood for the seven remaining months to the general election.