Cord MPs to snub special House sitting
The sitting is expected to be addressed by President Uhuru Kenyatta but at a rally on Sunday in Nairobi, Cord leaders said they had not been told what agenda the President will be addressing.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, who is the Minority Leader in the Senate, said Cord legislators would not attend because the President will not be talking about a national matter.
“What we are being called for has not been made clear but the Constitution says the President shall address Parliament on a national issue: state of the nation,” he told a crowd at Kangemi’s Kihumbu-ini grounds.
“The ICC is not a state of the nation of this country. And I have been told our MPs both in the Senate and National Assembly that tomorrow (Monday) they won’t go to that sitting,” he said.
Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said he would not attend the sitting as a “sign of respect” to those who died or were injured during the post-election violence of 2007/2008.
“We don’t want bad things to happen to anybody but you are a suspect so please go there and listen to the case,” Mr Omar said.
“I have no business attending a sitting in Parliament to listen to someone’s personal problem. Nobody is talking about the victims and Uhuru is not a victim. To go there will be to betray those who died or got injured in the violence.”
The President’s case at the ICC arises from the violence in which 1,133 people were killed and more than 600,000 displaced.
“We have been called to stand, let the President in, sit and listen, stand again and let him go away after speaking. It is therefore unconstitutional for us to go to Parliament for that sitting,” said Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale who argued that no agenda had been gazetted as required by law.
Otieno Kajwang of Homa Bay, Siaya’s James Orengo and his Machakos counterpart Johnstone Muthama supported the stand, with Kibra MP Ken Okoth saying the President risked turning his “personal problem into a national problem” if he refused to go to The Hague, adding he would not attend the special sitting.
During Sunday’s rally, Cord leader Raila Odinga, unlike politicians in his coalition, steered clear of the ICC issue, only calling on Kenyans to support the referendum push.
Also at the rally was Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua.
WROTE TO SPEAKERS
Last week, President Kenyatta wrote to the Speakers of the Senate and the National Assembly and asked them to prepare for the special sitting.
On Friday evening, MPs were receiving text messages on their phones that read: “Mheshimiwa, please note that Pursuant to Article 132 (1) (b) of the Constitution, His Excellency The President will address a Joint Sitting of Parliament on Monday 6th October, 2014 at 3pm in the National Assembly Chamber. Kindly attend. Thank you Justin B. Muturi & Ekwee Ethuro.”
The special sitting, coming just two days before the President is scheduled to become the first sitting Head of State to appear before the ICC, raised expectations that he would address the matter.
The Constitution says that the President may address Parliament at any time.