Jubilee and Cord close ranks to defuse tension-Dialogue to start in Parliament

Jubilee and Cord MPs have started a peace campaign in the wake of heightened political tension over the Mpeketoni attacks.

About 30 legislators have put aside their differences coming a day after a charged debate in the National Assembly over the issue.

The MPs have demanded immediate cessation of verbal hostilities.

“Kenyans irrespective of station in life must restrain themselves from verbal attacks and innuendos that may poison the nation,” Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka said during a press conference at Parliament Buildings Wednesday.

Speaking on behalf of the other MPs, he said: “Verbal hostilities are creating tension across the nation and suffocating Kenya’s socio-economic development.”

The leaders have advocated dialogue to start in Parliament.

“Any national agenda that needs to be discussed starts here before it goes out there,” said Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery.

The legislators asked Cord to unconditionally suspend the planned political rallies and told leaders across the political divide to stop any form of incitement.

The MPs asked Kenyans to maintain calm as they wait for investigation on the Mpeketoni killings.

“Time is now right for non-partisan approach to restore sanity and put Kenya back on track,” they said in a statement.

At the same time, the MPs called for independent multi-agencies to identify and bring to book the architects of the attacks.

“It is critically important for the nation to establish if the Mpeketoni attacks are as a result of terrorism or political incitement,” they said.

The leaders asked President Kenyatta and other leaders to “offer leadership by deploying a non-partisan approach to heal the nation”.

They urged the President to mobilise all security organs to protect lives and property.

“The nation is bleeding; we have lost lives and property at the hands of brazen criminals. Members of the National Assembly are disgusted and disturbed with the current state of affairs,” Mr Onyonka said. “At this moment, healing the nation deserves patriotic attention.”

The MPs said it was necessary to suspend planned political rallies by Cord to give way for national healing.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary Budget and Appropriations Committee has proposed a “neutral dialogue” moderated by religious leaders on issues of national unity, cohesion and security.

Committee chairman Mutava Musyimi also proposed that the National Assembly establishes a 25-member ad hoc team to work with the religious leaders — 12 members each from Cord and Jubilee and a chairman.

The idea is to have each of the former eight provinces bring in three members to ensure a national face, he said.

Emotions ran high during the Senate and National Assembly sittings on Tuesday afternoon, with members trading accusations after the Houses adjourned their normal sessions to discuss the attacks in Mpeketoni.

Debate in the National Assembly started on an acrimonious note as members shouted each other down.

The sessions in both Houses generated heated debates and Senator James Orengo (Siaya) was thrown out of the Senate and Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo-Mabona thrown out of the National Assembly.

Wednesday, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir urged MPs to cease political incitement and hostilities.

Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery said: “We are not going to accept what is happening in this country today.

“It is important for us to begin saying No to what is happening; we must deal with the high political temperatures and take charge of the dialogue process.”

A victim of the Mpeketoni attack is attended to by members of the Kenya Red Cross on June 16, 2014. PHOTO | KENYA RED CROSS

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