Junet Mohamed reads mischief in special Parliament sitting

Azimio Secretary General Junet Mohamed

Azimio Secretary-General Junet Mohamed speaks to journalists in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Azimio coalition is reading a sinister plot in the move by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to convene a special sitting tomorrow without a Gazette notice.

In contention is the recruitment of a new Clerk and consideration of Huduma Namba Bill with four weeks to the General Election.

Azimio la Umoja Secretary-General Junet Mohamed said the notice published by the Speaker in local dailies last Friday has no legal basis.

“What is the point of convening the House for a special sitting to install a new Clerk with just days to elections and without a Gazette notice? Can’t it wait? They know that going by the current projections, we will have the numerical strength in the 13th Parliament and seek to have a friendly Clerk now while he is still the Speaker,” Mr Mohamed said.

Mr Muturi has thrown his weight behind Deputy President William Ruto who is bidding to succeed his boss Uhuru Kenyatta next month on a Kenya Kwanza ticket. As such, every move or pronouncements he makes is interpreted by Azimio as meant to give their opponent an upper hand in the political arena.

Speaker Muturi is the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission, the body charged with employing staff for the House. The commission has been sitting to pick the right candidate who’ll replace Mr Michael Sialai, who is retiring.

An enquiry by the Daily Nation showed there was no Gazette issue on the same by the government printer by last evening.

But the Speaker insists the sitting has been gazetted.

“The sitting is for Wednesday. It cannot happen if it is not gazetted. It was,” he said.

Mr Muturi said until the 13th Parliament is inaugurated after the General Election, he is under obligation to recall the current one as situations may demand from time to time.

“The Constitution is very clear on the life of a House of Parliament. Remember, if there's an emergency it would be the 12th Parliament which would be called to come and make the necessary decisions,” he said, before adding: “I am out in the field campaigning for my preferred presidential candidate William Ruto.”

The House Standing Orders stipulate that the calendar of the House once approved shall be published in the Gazette, parliamentary website and at least two newspapers of national circulation.

A special sitting is held at the request of the leader of the majority party or the leader of minority party. In this case, Mr Muturi says he acted on a request by Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya, the leader of the majority party.

Mr Mohamed is the leader of the minority party in the National Assembly.

On the matter of a new Clerk, Mr Muturi said: “I have always detested the politicisation of the staff of Parliament and it is unfair for anyone to make such claims.”

The Clerk is the administrative and procedural head of the National Assembly. He or she oversees the day-to-day operations and affairs of the House. As such, each of the competing factions is keen to have one who is friendly.

Also set to raise political temperatures in the House tomorrow is the Huduma Bill which is coming up in the committee of the whole House where various proposed amendments are set to be considered.

The Bill seeks to establish the National Integration Identity Management System (Niims), also referred to as Huduma Namba, a central database where government agencies and other entities can access the database in the provision of services to the people.

Other business lined up is the County Governments Additional Allocations Bill 2021 meant to unlock the disbursement of conditional grants to the 47 counties following a court order and Kenya-UK cooperation agreement.

On the Ratification of Defence Cooperation Agreement between the Kenyan Government and the Governments of the Republic of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, the committee on Defence and Foreign Relations are expected to table their report tomorrow morning.

Mr Sialai was yesterday not sure whether the report is ready.

“We expect the tabling of the report in the morning so that it can be discussed by members in the afternoon,” Mr Sialai said.

However, Saboti Caleb Amisi said the manner in which the issue is being hurriedly handled raises a lot of questions.

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