in

Let integrity rule, Justin Muturi tells legislators

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi asked MPs to set aside their political differences and work with integrity as the 12th Parliament began work on Thursday evening.

Mr Muturi was re-elected by 220 votes, with his only competitor Migudo Awinja getting one.

A majority of opposition MPs were not in the chambers but, given that Jubilee Party has 171 MPs, some independents and opposition figures must have voted for him.

“I undertake to discharge my duties with a high degree of efficiency and impartiality and will to the best of my ability respect, uphold and defend the peoples’ constitutional sovereignty assigned to this House,” said Mr Muturi.

He added: “I submit myself to the will of this House and assure you that I will, as usual, strive to be accessible to every member and ensure that we work together for the well-being of our great nation.”

The Speaker is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

He immediately used the opportunity to ask MPs to prepare for a paperless, digital House.

CHAOTIC SCENES

Mr Muturi also asked lawmakers to set aside their political differences, a reference to the chaotic scenes often witnessed in the last Parliament as Jubilee flexed its superiority in numbers while the opposition protested.

“Adversarial politics only serves to undermine public confidence in our institutions. Let us not be sworn to antagonism. Let us promote, embrace, enhance and commit to serve the public in the spirit of integration and reconciliation,” he said.

“I encourage this House to embrace collegiality, fellowship, mutual and reciprocal respect when conducting its proceedings.  Let us be the agents that promote the unity and advancement of this indivisible nation.”

Mr Muturi also asked MPs not to be involved in corruption.

“The people of Kenya have assigned to us a huge responsibility. We must safeguard public trust by conducting ourselves with integrity and in a manner that brings honour and dignity to the nation,” he said. 

RULING PARTY

The Speaker added that the new office block should be ready by the end of 2018.

It has 20 meeting rooms, 338 offices and more than 400 parking spaces.

He asked the ruling party and opposition leaders to get things going  and have the House vote on Kenya’s representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly.

Mr Muturi asked MPs to attend the induction retreat “even if you are not first-timers”.

The Speaker retained his seat after two rounds of voting necessitated by the candidature of Dr Awinja and the Standing Orders’ requirements for a re-run if no candidate garners 233 votes in the first round.

In the first round of voting, Mr Muturi had 217 votes while Dr Awinja had only four. In the second, Dr Awinja had one vote. Mr Washington Andango withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday evening.

DECLARED WINNER

For one to be Speaker of the National Assembly, he or she must be supported by two thirds of the lawmakers.

The MPs, therefore, had to go for a second round of voting where only a simple majority was required for one to be declared winner.

Mr Muturi was poised to retain his seat after being endorsed by Jubilee during a parliamentary group meeting at State house on Wednesday.

With the ruling party enjoying a majority in the House, Mr Muturi had no serious challenge.

Despite a spirited last-minute campaign in the corridors of Parliament, Dr Awinja could not win the confidence of MPs.

NEUTRAL CANDIDATE

Dr Awinja was campaigning on the platform of being a neutral candidate.

He promised the lawmakers adequate facilities in Nairobi and constituencies.

Many opposition MPs gave the election of the Speaker a wide berth.

The few who were present remained in their seats when called to pick the ballot papers.

“I have nothing to do here once I have been sworn in,” said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

Former Bungoma governor pledges to safeguard devolution.

Ken Lusaka lands top Senate post, calls for unity

Governors give nurses a week to resume duty