Chaos erupted as the August House passed the security bill Wednesday. The Legislators engaged in a war of words and exchanged blows as the proceedings went on. Even so, the speaker and his deputy were not safe. The speaker got a taste of bottles that were thrown at him. Even as the House blazed in a war of words, one Member of Parliament literally poured water on the deputy speaker so as to cool down the temperature.
The rowdy legislators disrupted the morning session that saw the parliament take a break for about two hours. The opposition engaged the House in singing, “Bado mapambano,” a song that translates as “Struggle continues.” Indeed the struggle continued till at the close of the day’s business–not, however, barring the speaker and the ruling coalition from passing the security laws. The ruling coalition that boasts the numbers in the House used its tyranny well and slid by the laws that the opposition and human rights activists have condemned as draconian.
Wednesday’s day’s and night’s proceedings can be identified as one of the most acrimonious sessions ever witnessed in the August House since 1963 independence. The passage of the contentious security laws on Wednesday night could just have renewed the war between the ruling alliance and the opposition. The government side had its way as the members of parliament threw a ring around the House speaker, Hon. Justin Muturi, so as to shield him from opposition legislators who unsuccessfully attempted to scuffle the process.
The speaker read each of the 100 amendments amid deafening noise and declared them as endorsed. The draconian legislation is now part of Kenyan law, and the opposition has vowed to move to the courts. Orange Democratic Movement Secretary General Hon. Ababu Namwamba in his own words said that the manner in which the bill was passed was an advance warning of how dangerous the same laws would be executed. He went ahead to say, “Parliament buildings have been turned into military barracks to demonstrate indeed that they are prepared to turn Kenya into a police state.” Deputy minority leader, Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo, on his part weighed in and said, “I have never seen, even in movies, a mace being taken out of the House through the back door. It means it is evil. It is a government wanting to pull a fast one and in an evil way.”
The speaker actually acted clueless on ways of dealing with the rowdy members of parliament. The manner in which the laws were passed indeed confirms that the laws are draconian. The laws that president Uhuru has critically campaigned for may see the nation get back to the old Moi era in which people were tortured by the police and the government. The heavy military presence outside the parliament buildings indeed proved a point. It was for the first time that people were refused access to the public gallery. The opposition senators were mistreated outside the House and one of them was even arrested or a few minutes. The mace in the House was under a tight security with it being guarded by about ten sergeants at arms. The divided House could have lost rip and the citizens’ trust, going by what those citizens watched broadcasted live on television channels in the country.
Analysis by Morris Cerullo
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