The Opposition is plotting to move a censure motion against Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro, alleging he is making rulings sympathetic to the Government. Coalition for Reforms and Democracy ( CORD) will reportedly discuss its senators’ displeasure with Ethuro tomorrow at a planned Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting. Ethuro confirmed to The Standard he is privy to complaints by CORD senators but said they are yet to lodge a formal protest. The senators are allegedly plotting to remove Ethuro from office for “his lack of impartiality in running the affairs of the House”.
They said this is frustrating their agenda and conferring the ruling alliance undue advantage. The Constitution states that a speaker can be removed from office through a resolution supported by the votes of at least two-thirds of members. The Standard has established that the complaint is pegged on, among other things, the notice of motion to debate the security laws, concurrence on bills-concerning counties-with his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi and approval of the Inspector General of Police nominee Joseph Boinett.
There were also questions about quorum hitches. See also: Speakers call for action on insecurity CORD senators who spoke to The Standard in confidence, said the speaker “no longer acts fairly as required by the Constitution”. They are particularly angry at the way Ethuro dismissed Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula’s notice of motion on December 30, to discuss the bill amending security laws, which he argued was in court then and could amount to sub judice.
They are also disgruntled over the continued failure by the two speakers to actualise Article 110 (3) of the Constitution, which requires concurrence on bills introduced in Parliament, whether special or ordinary and those that concern counties. “The speaker has continued to favour the majority side of the House. This is not fair, especially when we are determining serious matters,” said a senator who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. Said the senator: “What we are witnessing now should not be allowed to continue, otherwise we will lose the very purpose why the Senate exists. As a House, we seek to protect counties and their interests and not to advance the interests of the national government.”
Senator Hassan Omar (Mombasa) confirmed there was displeasure among CORD senators about the way the speaker exercises his constitutional mandate. Omar confirmed that a PG meeting had been scheduled for tomorrow to discuss the matter. “After the meeting, we will be in a position to communicate the resolution,” said Omar, who is also the Wiper secretary general. CORD feels sidelined and has been unable to advance issues of national and county interest on many occasions, especially those deemed to be against the Jubilee administration. In his defence Ethuro said: “I believe I have so far steered the Senate in the best way without taking sides or favouring any side of the coalitions. If it is about my commitment to ensuring concurrence between the two speakers, I have done my best. What more demonstration is needed? I was petitioner number one when the Senate moved to the Supreme court to challenge the Division of Revenue Bill, 2013.” Elgeyo/Markawet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen scoffed at CORD’s planned move and dared the movers to proceed with the plans saying they would be embarrassed. “The argument that the speaker is biased is diversionary.
Senators James Orengo, Wetang’ula and Anyang’ Nyong’o are on record acknowledging that the speaker is impartial in steering the House, why the sudden change of heart?” he asked. See also: Speakers call for action on insecurity “The genesis of all these problems is not how the speaker works, it has to do with CORD losing in the House. The minority side is directing its anger at the wrong person (Ethuro) instead of facing off squarely with Jubilee senators.” He warned that any attack on Ethuro by a section of CORD lawmakers “driven by personal interest” would be strongly resisted. “These constant fights raise questions of suitability of the CORD leadership to lead their troops,” said Murkomen, who is also a member of the speaker’s panel. “In the speaker’s panel, both Jubilee and CORD are fairly represented and if there are any concerns, we can always address such.”