The cancellation of the special parliamentary sitting due to lack of a gazette notice has scuttled the ratification of Defence Cooperation Agreement between Kenya and the United Kingdom.
The sitting was called off by Speaker Justin Muturi on Tuesday, citing failure by the Government Printer to publish the notice.
The net effect is that the new Kenya-UK defence pact might now have to start afresh in the 13th Parliament if another special sitting is not called before August 8 when the term of the current House expires.
The Defence committee adopted the report on Tuesday and it was ready to table it. “It was adopted but that has no effect since it must be passed by the whole House,” said Saboti MP Caleb Amisi, a member.
According to parliamentary practice, if a report hasn’t been tabled, it’s deemed to have lapsed in the committee and the process has to start afresh.
Defence co-operation agreement
Kenya and the UK signed the new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA) in London in July last year on the side-lines of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day State visit.
The inking of the new agreement followed the lapse of the Sh9 billion training pact renewed in 2015 that ended in October last year.
The committee spent millions of taxpayers’ funds in advertising, calling for public participation regarding the deal and held several sittings where MPs earned allowances but all that work will now mean nothing.
Further, taxpayers funded six members of the committee to the UK last month. “It would be unfortunate if we won’t meet and ratify the co-operation agreement. Anyone asking why the hurry should think about the process and public resources used,” said Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo.
Hope for a sitting
He, however, expressed hope that the House will sit in the remaining 25 days and ratify the deal.
“It will be foolhardy for someone to wake up and send the British soldiers home. The Laikipia economy depends on them. We need such strong friends,” Mr Kilonzo said.
The adoption of the multibillion-shilling defence pact will allow UK troops to continue training at Nanyuki, where the British Army Training Unit Kenya (Batuk) is located.
The 13th Parliament will have stringent standing orders guiding the signing of treaties. The government will have to involve the House from the onset of negotiations as opposed to the current situation where MPs only get involved to ratify a signed treaty as a formality.