Sleeping MPs? Parliament’s morning session delayed as less than 50 members present

Only one Jubilee MP was present

A file image of the National Assembly's debate chamber

Debate on important legislative matters before the National Assembly was on Wednesday morning delayed as the House struggled with low quorum.

Members of Parliament (MPs) appeared to have overslept as by 9.30 am when the morning session was to kick off – less than 50 members were present.

Temporary speaker Christopher Omulele, in line with the standing orders, rang a quorum bell requiring members around Parliament buildings to attend the debate chamber.

The situation was so bad that that on the majority side, which is taken up by Jubilee MPs who control House business, only Mwea MP Dr Wachira Kabinga was present.

I can see the member for Mwea is alone. I direct that the quorum bell is rung for ten minutes,”Omulele ruled.

Ten minutes later, a number of members strolled in but the August House was yet to raise the necessarily quorum of 50 MPs.

At some point minority deputy chief whip Chris Wamalwa had to leave the house to look for his colleagues in the chambers after the house business stalled with only 49 MPs present, out of the needed 50.

Wamwala returned at around 10.45am holding Sirisia MP John Walukhe’s hand – effectively raising the needed quorum.

A search by Pulse Live Kenya showed that important motions and bills were before the house – raising the question as to why MPs did not bother attending the session.

The first order of business was a motion by Tigania West MP John Mutunga proposing the House direct the government to facilitate and support the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation.

The motion further sought to mobilize and organize the registration of farmers into preferred entities and manage national farmers’ database for use in engagements and sustainable management of the various Agricultural Product Value Chains.

The Equalization Fund Bill, sponsored by Tiaty MP William Kamket, was also top agenda.

The bill has won the support of President Uhuru Kenyatta who called on MPs to pass it in order to facilitate equal consideration of poor and marginalized communities in the provision of government services such as water and health. 

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