Inside Politics

Legislators stare at ouster as Ruto assents IEBC bill

Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 06:30 | By
Members of Parliament during one of their sessions. PHOTO/@NAssemblyKE/X
Members of Parliament during one of their sessions. PHOTO/@NAssemblyKE/X

Scores of MPs could be on the chopping board after President William Ruto assented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) bill yesterday, setting the stage for the recall of lawmakers by disgruntled electorate.

President William Ruto assented to the bill yesterday after the Gen Z populations put pressure on him to reconstitute the commission failure to which they would occupy the electoral commission’s offices countrywide.

The new law, a product of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) will put the country’s electoral management system in place, including paving the way for the appointment of new IEBC commissioners.

Said Ruto: “The IEBC remains a cornerstone of our democracy responsible for overseeing regular elections at various levels ensuring that our electoral cycle is managed transparently and administered in an impartial neutral, efficient, accurate and accountable manner.”

Declined to assent

The move has now sparked anxiety among MPs, especially those who voted in support of the Finance Bill, only for President Ruto to decline to assent to it following countrywide protests led by the Gen Zs.

Following the vote, several MPs found themselves on the receiving end from their electorate, with some having their properties vandalized by angry protestors for their role in passing the controversial bill.

Those whose homes were invaded and vandalized include Molo MP and Chairperson of the Finance Committee Kuria Kimani.

In the aftermath of the vote, Kimani’s residence in Treasure Island Estate Molo was invaded, vehicles were reduced to shells, his multi-million shilling home was stoned, broken into and his furniture extensively damaged.

Kieni MP Njoroge Wainana whose supermarket located in Nyeri town and two others in Naromoru and Nanyuki were burnt down and looted. The MP put the loss at Sh500 million.

Also on the receiving end of angry protestors for his role in passing the bill was Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, a close ally of the president whose Timba XO Club in Eldoret was looted and property of unknown value stolen.

Others affected are leader of Majority in the National Assembly and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa with angry protestors storming the constituency’s NG-CDF offices and set them on fire.

Igembe South MP Paul Mwirigi’s office was also set on fire.

In Suba South constituency represented in Parliament by Caroli Omondi, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) office was set ablaze while in the coast region, protestors stormed the homes of Mwatate MP Peter Shake and vandalized them.

Narok North MP Agnes Pareiyo was physically attacked while on a tour of her constituency and her motorcade stoned by an angry crowd which accused her of letting them down by voting “Yes.’

Among the MPs who have since apologized include Turkana Central MP Joseph Namuar who asked his constituents to forgive him for voting yes.

Nakuru East MP David Gikaria was forced to parade his wife before the public wearing branded T-shirts inscribed with words “I am sorry please forgive me.”

Tetu MP Geoffrey Wandeto was also forced to apologise to his constituents for supporting the controversial bill.

Said Wandeto: “You reached out to me in various ways and made your stand clear regarding the finance bill 2024. This time I fell short of your expectations. I Want to assure you that your voice, the voice of the people of Tetu, will always be my guiding light.”

Listen to the people

Keiyo South Gideon Kimaiyo on his part promised to listen to the people more going forward.

He said: “I apologize to all Keiyo South people for voting YES to the Finance Bill…going into the future I promise to listen more to sauti ya mwananchi.”

Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere on the other hand admitted to having fallen short of her constituents’ expectations while Matungu MP Oscar Nabulindo also apologized for not listening to the people more.

Said Korere: “As for my Laikipia North constituents, please accept my profound apologies for voting against your expectations. Accept my humble apologies.”

Added Nabulindo: “I take this opportunity to cancel and withdraw my yes vote. I am going to tell the Speaker to remove my name from the list of Yes and put it on the No list of rejecting the Finance Bill.”

Taking the cue from the Gen Zs anger at MPs who supported the bill, Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has also threatened to take action its lawmakers who voted in support of the controversial bill.

Already, ODM has said it will initiate and lead the recall processes of MPs Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Emanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Memusi Kanchory (Kajiado Central), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and Caroli Omondi (Suba South) MPs after they voted in support of the finance bill that triggered the Gen Z countrywide revolt.

ODM Secretary General and Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said that the party will recall the aforementioned MPs to serve as a lesson to others with such behaviors.

Asked why the party was sparing other ODM MPs who also supported the bill including Nabulindo, Khwisero’s Christopher Aseka, Garsen’s Guyo Ali Wario, Adow Mohammed (Wajir South), Abdikadir Hussein (Lagdera) and Umulkher Harun Abdi (nominated), Sifuna simply stated; “Those listed are repeat offenders.”

The law requires that to initiate a recall of an MP, a registered voter in the constituency must file a petition with the electoral commission with signatures from at least 30 per cent of the voters in the constituency and 15 per cent of the voters in each ward.
Said Sifuna: “These are repeat offenders who voted against the wishes of the people in 2023 and 2024, there are a few who met their Damascus moment. We have started with the six so that it serves as a lesson to the rest.”

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