ARE THE RELIGIOUS CLERGY JUSTIFIED IN THEIR QUEST TO CASTIGATE THE PARLIAMENT OVERTHE MANNER IN WHICH OT CONDUCTED THE HOUSE BUSINESS? By Mungai.

The religious are at it yet again, and this time round they have turned their focus to the National assembly, the parliament, the legislature, the one arm of Government. Since the formation of the coalition government the religious people and the political activists have assumed the role of the official opposition. But, the religious people are the ones who are most vocal and they have made it their duty to prick any hair in the soup of the coalition government.

But, are they justified in their action to castigate the parliament over the manner in which it conducts the house business?

The formation of the coalition government brought together different political parties hence no room was left for the official opposition, and so there wasn’t any formidable party that could have formed the official opposition as per the house standing orders. And, any attempt to form the official opposition by the backbenchers has been scuttled by the house standing orders. Different house committees which were a total reserve for the opposition to check on the government have been filled by the coalition political party members.

This arrangement created a political vacuum which the church fraternity is tryi0ng to fill, as nobody is checking on the government. Their tough stand and stinging criticism has ruffled the political feathers in the wrong way, and their accusers have told them to concentrate their minds in the pulpit. Earlier in one of their hard hitting criticism of the coalition government for failing to deliver they described the president moribund, whi0le the prime minister as ineffective.

And this time round they have casted the net wide into the parliament, which they have accused of trying to be too much authoritative, ineffective selfish and of which it can’t accomplish anything.

The negative criticism views the religious people do hold are same ones which most Kenyans do hold, and if most people were asked to give a contempt card to our parliamentarians, then they could give them a very poor rating. And, if Kenyans were given a chance, then, a red card would be handed to them, and, show them the door for their poor showing.

Of late the parliament has faced the numerous accusations over the manner in which it conducts its business and how the parliamentarians conduct themselves. As a superior institution of legislating laws it has been accused of up surging the powers of the other arms of the government, that’s the executive and the Judiciary.

The government is structured in a way that’s i0ts di0vided into three arms, The Executive, Judiciary and the legislature, which are mandated by the constitution to carry out different roles. The executive is in charge of day to day running of the government and it’s the main core of any government which is headed by the president. Legislature is mandated to legislate or amend the governing laws and the Judiciary interprets the law.

The church fraternity has a valid point where they voiced their concern regarding the parliament. Those who raised the query were drawn from the mainstream Christian churches and the Muslim community.

But, why is it that the parliament is tilting itself to be a bit authoritative and up surging the powers of the other arms of government despite there been well laid down laws in the constitution which outlines a clear distinctive role of each arm of the government?

Through a memorandum which they presented to the prime minister, the religious clergy raised several pointers which they accused the parliament for. In their considered recommendation they said that the parliament needs to be tamed.

In one of the pointers, the parliament was accused of conducting house business casually resulting in lack of quorum and important bills passed by a handful of M.Ps

They were also accused of controlling and directing the constitutional review to the exclusion of the rest of the society. Also, they were accused of refusing to pay taxes like other citizens despite the fact that they do receive hefty pay package and perks.

Parliaments growing tendency to upsurp the authority of both the Judiciary and the Executive was highlighted, this was earlier pin pointed by the head of the Civil Servant and secretary to the cabinet, Ambassador, Francis Muthaura, when he protested to the speaker over this matter.

Subverting the will of the people through the “nullification” of the voters register thereby endangering the referendum of the constitution.


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