House rules make it difficult to sack leaders of majority, minority

Aden Duale

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale . In 2020, he was removed as the leader of majority in the National Assembly and replaced by then-Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The majority or minority party or coalition will no longer have the exclusive mandate to fire its leader and deputy leader in the National Assembly following the coming into force of new standing orders.

The new rules enacted by the 12th Parliament and published as the sixth edition of the Standing Orders apply to the 13th Parliament to be inaugurated next week after the August 9 election.

The new standing orders seek to address complaints about abuse of power by the nominating parties, especially when exercising the removal power.

Unlike in the past when only what a party or coalition needed was a resolution as adopted at its Parliamentary Group meeting and a mere notification to the House Speaker to fire the leader of majority, minority and their deputies, the minutes supporting such a move will be required this time round.

The new rules now make it mandatory that the names and signatures of at least a quarter of all the members of a party or coalition in the House be required to remove the leader of majority, minority or their deputies.

The provisions effectively make it difficult for the nominating parties or coalitions to remove the holders of these offices at will.

“A member of the largest party or coalition of parties may propose the removal of the leader of majority by submitting a motion for consideration by the largest party or coalition of parties together with the names and signatures of at least a quarter of all the members of the largest party or coalition of parties in support,” the new rules read.

The holders of these offices shall then be removed by a majority of votes of all members of the largest party or coalition of parties in the National Assembly.

The amended Standing Order 19 (3) that applied in the 11th and 12th parliaments, provided that the leader of majority may be removed by a majority of votes of all members of the largest party or coalition of parties.

The provision, which was similar to the removal of minority leader, had no requirement for a motion supported by at least a quarter of the membership of the majority party.

The Standing Orders go on to provide that the whip of the majority or minority party or coalition in the National Assembly shall then, “forthwith, upon a decision being made,” communicate to the speaker, in writing, the decision together with the minutes of the meeting at which the decision was made.

The new rules provide that the relevant whip shall, upon a decision being made, notify the speaker in writing of the decision of their parties or coalition of parties to remove the leader of majority. However, this does not stop there.

The whips will then be required to submit the minutes of the meeting at which the decision was made and the names and signatures of the members who resolved to remove their House leadership at the meeting.

Upon receipt of the notification, the documents and confirmation that the threshold for removal has been met, the speaker shall notify the House of the decision and the office shall fall vacant.

Mr Kimani Ichung’wah, the Kikuyu MP-elect, said the new rules will curtail dictatorial tendencies and witch-hunt by the nominating parties.

“We have seen nominating parties abusing these rules by removing individuals without an opportunity to be heard and defend themselves,” said Mr Ichung’wah.

On June 22, 2020, a Jubilee Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) chaired by the party leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta, took less than 45 minutes to pass a resolution removing Garissa Township MP Aden Duale as the leader of majority in the National Assembly.

Mr Duale, who successfully defended his seat in the August 9 General Election, was replaced by then-Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya in the PG meeting that Deputy President William Ruto, then Jubilee’s deputy party leader did not attend.

Mr Kimunya was defeated by Ms Wanjiku Muhia in his attempt to defend the Kipipiri parliamentary seat in the concluded general election.

MPs who attended the Jubilee PG meeting at the KICC, complained that Mr Duale was not given an opportunity to be heard and that no minutes were recorded. It was also claimed by those sympathetic to Mr Duale that most Jubilee MPs did not support his removal.


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