Jubilee’s ‘tyranny of numbers’ shaken as CORD MPs shoot down NGO Bill

Cord MPs rallied to reject a Bill that sought to regulate funding for non-governmental organisations.

The Bill also sought to change 48 other laws, many considered unconstitutional.

It was shot down last evening when MPs were asked to vote for its Second Reading.

So large is the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2013 that it had been split into two volumes — the large one, which was rejected yesterday, and a smaller one with seven laws affecting counties.

This second batch of laws would also have to be debated by the Senate.

Cord MPs dealt their Jubilee colleagues a crushing and surprising defeat in both the vote by acclamation and physical vote.

Speaker Justin Muturi ordered the physical vote after Jubilee, surprised that Cord had outshouted them, sought a second round of voting.

Cord won 83-73, with eight MPs abstaining.

Many who spoke about the omnibus Bill at the Second Reading, which was spread over several days, had expressed opposition, pointing out a number of amendments they said were unconstitutional.

Wednesday, at the last stage of the Second Reading, lawmakers from both sides challenged it, saying it contained many provisions that violated the supreme law.

National Intelligence Service

Among the proposed changes that were affected was a proposal to allow the National Intelligence Service to interfere with anybody’s communication if that person is under investigations or is suspected to have committed an offence.

The spy agency would have been given the power to do that without getting a warrant from the courts.

The current law allows them to do that only if the courts issue a warrant after a request is made and a judge finds that that is necessary.

Attorney-General Githu Muigai also came under fire from MPs, who accused him of trying to change the Constitution.

Before the morning sitting ended, the government had appeared to bow to pressure and Majority Leader Aden Duale announced he would withdraw a proposal to cap foreign donor funding of non-governmental organisations.-nation.co.ke

Parliament in session. FILE

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