Millie under fire for saying 15pc of MPs gay


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – Parliamentary debate on the judicial nominees was almost paralysed when nominated MP Millie Odhiambo alleged that 15 percent of the legislators were gay.

The allegation drew sharp criticism from MPs who asked Deputy House Speaker Farah Maalim to direct that Ms Odhiambo withdraws her remarks and apologises.

A section of MPs challenged Ms Odhiambo to name the MPs who were gay to exonerate those who are not, or unreservedly withdraw the claim.

The nominated MP however declined to withdraw her statements and instead opted to walk out forcing the Deputy Speaker to suspend her from Parliamentary proceedings for two days.

Ms Odhiambo was referring to a report that had allegedly been compiled and quoted by activist Betty Murungi when she appeared before the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee during the vetting exercise for top judicial nominees.

"I am merely reporting what was said to us before the committee. Mr Speaker if you want to get me out because of that I am happy; I will leave," she quipped.

But according to Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo the alleged report indicated that 15 percent of Kenyans were gay and did not make any specific references to MPs.

While making his ruling, Mr Maalim termed the remarks by Ms Odhiambo as disparaging arguing that they were an embarrassment to the National Assembly. He added that Ms Odhiambo was out of order and warned her against making unsubstantiated statements in the House.

But before he could finish his statement, Ms Odhiambo walked out, causing a storm in Parliament.

"Pursuant to the provisions in the Standing Orders that are indicated I have suspended the Honourable Millie Odhiambo from the proceedings of the House for two days," he said.

The two-day suspension means that Ms Odhiambo will be allowed back in on Tuesday.  MPs who commit parliamentary offenses can only be suspended for a maximum of two days.

However MPs were unhappy with the punishment meted on Ms Odhiambo with Bumula MP Bifwoli Wakoli saying that she should have been named and suspended for one year.

Baringo East MP Asman Kamama asked the Speaker to order that Ms Odhiambo’s remarks are removed from the Hansard where all official statements of the House are recorded.

Mr Kamama also asked the Speaker to direct that the media withholds the broadcasting of the said content.

However Mr Maalim only directed that Ms Odhiambo’s remarks be withdrawn from the Hansard.

"I’m also going to direct that the proceedings relating to all those obnoxious aspects of the proceedings itself to be expunged from the records of the House," he said.

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