John Mbadi, the National Assembly Minority Leader took to the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, June 3 to double down on the opposition’s move to kick out alleged allies of the Deputy President from various committee positions.
Mbadi spoke in response to Ugenya MP David Ochieng’, who was elected on a Movement of Democracy and Growth (MDG) ticket but was among 16 MPs ousted from various committees by the minority side, for their alleged alliance with Deputy President William Ruto.
Ochieng’ stated that they could link him to Ruto in public but not break the law, demanding a ruling from Speaker Justin Muturi as he argued that Mbadi and Minority Whip Junet Mohammed lacked the power to remove him.
Mbadi argued that the allocation of committee seats had already been decided on after the election, noting that Ochieng’ replaced an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in the committee position after a by-election.
Observing that ODM was a parliamentary party based on its strength unlike MDG, he stated that Ochieng’ was handed the committee position out of magnanimity, as it was a reserve of the minority side.
He stated that he was among the casualties of the purge on leaders not aligned with the opposition politically, leaving his colleagues in stitches when he joked that the de-whipped MPs must be isolated and quarantined.
“This position Ochieng’ is sitting on, in the Health Committee is a position that we magnanimously allowed him to occupy. And that magnanimity can only continue so far as the person who is magnanimous wishes to be magnanimous.
“It is something you cannot force, it is something you cannot blackmail us into agreeing to. And therefore Mr. Speaker, as a party, we have been doing some contact tracing.
“If we do contact tracing and we find you in a political corner we are not comfortable with, then we must isolate you, we must quarantine you, and we must deal with you as is required,” Mbadi asserted.
He urged Ochieng’ to accept his fate, welcoming the MP’s clarification that he was not affiliated to ODM or the National Super Alliance (NASA).
Mbadi promised that he would lead ODM campaigns to capture the Ugenya parliamentary seat in a duel with Ochieng’ in 2022.
Mbadi was backed by Millie Odhiambo who argued that many members of opposition parties like herself belong to only one parliamentary committee.
She, however, called for provisions to be introduced to create space for independent MPs and those belonging to small parties in various committees going forward.
Majority Leader Aden Duale noted that it was a weighty debate that could end up guiding the operations of future houses of Parliament.
“Going forward, the communication the Speaker will give either way is going to set a precedent for future Parliaments,” he observed.
Speaker Justin Muturi is expected to issue a ruling on Ochieng’s complaint in due course.