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Kenyan MPs can now defect at will

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba


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MPs can now freely hop from one political party to another and still secure their parliamentary seats.MPs passed changes to the Political Parties Act to allow MPs and councillors to defect from their political parties and still retain their seats.But the House rejected proposals by Chepalungu  MP Isaac Ruto to allow presidential candidates and the deputy presidents to also contest in other elective positions even as they seek the top seat.Mr Ruto wanted changes to the Elections Act to provide that incase a presidential candidate and the deputy win in their bid for the top seat, they can forfeit the lesser position.However, the amendments were unanimously rejected by the House with MPs who sat late into the night to debate changes to the Statute law Miscellaneous Bill dismissing it as unconstitutional and unnecessary.The contentious amendments to allow defections were approved during an acrimonious debate pitting ODM MPs allied to Prime Minister Raila Odinga who vehemently opposed the changes, against the others who were the majority.Temporary Speaker Dr Joyce Laboso had a difficult time controlling the rowdy MPs which saw Nominated ODM MP Rachel Shebesh thrown out for misconduct.Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto (ODM) successfully proposed an amendment to section 22 of the Elections Act 2011 to provide that a presidential candidate and the deputy be eligible for nomination and also contest in any other elective seat in the next elections.Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi's amendments seeking to have MPs defect to other parties without losing their parliamentary parties was approved by the House. Mr Musyimi, a PNU MP with presidential ambitions under the Democratic Party proposed to amend the Political Parties Act and suspend until after the next elections, requirements that any MP or councillor who defects to another party other than the one sponsoring the politician to Parliament or Local Authority resign and by extension, seek a fresh mandate.