NDUBI: Party-Hopping Law Betrays Parliament as House of Puppets

NDUBI: Party-Hopping Law Betrays Parliament as House of Puppets

The passing of the Parliamentary joint select committee’s report on IEBC with no changes is a cause for alarm.

Without trivialising the apparent goodwill shown by players from the political divide to help solve the IEBC stalemate, it would be escapist to overlook the affront to independence of the legislature.

How the anti-party hopping clause found its way into a process primarily aimed at finding a solution to ‘teargas Mondays’ and an ‘honourable’ exit for the commissioners is suspect.

Once the negotiated report was presented to Parliament, MPs were ready to expunge the ‘offending’ clause together with a raft of other amendments that members deemed unsuitable.

However, the MPs intention to introduce suitable amendments fizzled out apparently after Cord and Jubilee chiefs bulldozed them to withdraw relevant proposals. As a consequence, MPs will now by locked in their subsequent parties 90 days to a General Election.

Why our honourable members would deliberately shoot themselves on the foot by allowing an utterly unnecessary (at least at this point in time) clause through, is beyond comprehension.

What surfaces though, is the now undeniable fact that most legislators are feeble and stake their political relevance and future on obsequious loyalty to tribal chiefs.

There was need to have the IEBC issue put to rest in good time before the elections and to lower political temperatures. And as such the insistence by coalition leaders to have report adopted without alterations was from the outset, in good faith.

However, the sneaked-in anti-party hopping clause and its subsequent sail through should raise the question of who exactly is Parliament legislating for.

Generally, a modern parliament represents the electorate, makes laws, and checks the executive. While representing the public is a key function that Kenyan MPs have spectacularly failed in, we have now fully crossed the frontier of Parliament rubberstamping laws made outside and dancing to not only the tune of the executive, but that of opposition leaders.

With a legislature held captive by seemingly omnipotent external forces, institutionalised political parties are a desirable destination. But with tribal clubs masquerading as national movements and zero structures in place for transparent primaries, a grim future awaits many incumbents.

Shoving the patty-hopping rule down the throats of MPs (who stand to lose the most) screams of a compromised Parliament, bound in shackles and condemned to puppetry.



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Story By Eric Ndubi
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