Jubilee Party leadership has told off elected Opposition Members of Parliament who have threatened to boycott Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony, saying this will not derail the House business.
The leaders said the directive to MPs to skip the event by NASA’s Steering Committee that is led by non-MPs was akin to a man being asked not to attend his wedding.
“NASA co-principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Isaac Ruto are not members and by directing their MPs to boycott the swearing in is like being asked not to attend your own wedding by a man who is not even a member of the wedding committee,” said Garissa Town MP-elect Aden Duale.
On Thursday, NASA argued that the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta has been challenged at the Supreme Court and thus is not supposed to not convene the Senate and the National Assembly’s first sitting.
No vacuum exists
But addressing a press conference at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, yesterday, Jubilee leaders said President Kenyatta is legally in office and his decision to convene Parliament is in accordance with the Constitution.
They argued that even if the Supreme Court were to order for a run off, Kenyatta will continue discharging his duties as head of state until a new president is sworn in and power handed over.
“No vacuum exists in the Office of the President. Uhuru Kenyatta continues to hold office, until the next person elected is sworn in in accordance to Article 142 (1) of the constitution. In issuing notice of the first sitting of the 12th Parliament, the president responsibly exercises his constitutional obligations conferred upon him vide Article 126 (2),” Duale said.
NASA legislators said a decision on whether to boycott the opening session of Parliament or not will be made public on Monday.
“We will inform the country on Monday if we will attend or not,” said Bungoma Senator-elect Moses Wetang’ula after a parliamentary group meeting at Okoa Kenya offices in Nairobi.
But Duale, who was flanked by 20 MPs-elect, warned that failure by opposition MPs to show up, will be to their detriment since they can only be entitled to parliamentary privileges once they have been sworn-in.
“A Member of Parliament-elect unless sown in, does not enjoy the benefits and privilege that accrue to such a member. Further the member cannot exercise the assigned functions and authority. This invariably prejudices the member who remains a stranger in the House and denies the patriotic citizens who voted for the member, the electorate, representation.”
NASA in a statement signed by ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohamed, said the rush by Kenyatta to convene Parliament was part of Jubilee’s psychological warfare to make Kenyans accept his alleged “fraudulent re-election.”
The President has up to September 7 to convene the two Houses as the Constitution states that the first sitting of a newly elected Parliament should be done within 30 days after the elections.
“There is a rush certainly, suicidal in our view, by Kenyatta to defraud Kenyans into believing that all is well and that he is rightly and properly in office. It is a psychological war meant to make Kenyans adjust into accepting a third stolen election as they await a fourth similar fraud in 2022,” added the statement.
However Jubilee insists, the presidential election petition has nothing to do with the calendar of Parliament since the validity of the MPs’ election is not being contested.
“The case at the Supreme Court is between Raila and the declared President-elect and MPs have nothing to do with it. The MPs are not party to the suit. Failure by NASA MPs to show up will be at their own peril. They have their right to boycott but the process will proceed and has you have seen, the positions of speaker and deputy have been advertised and elections will be held with or without NASA in the House,” Duale added.