Senate Speaker Ethuro

Senate speaker Ethuro has ordered the withdrawal of police officers deployed to the National Assembly ahead of the debate on amendments to election law.

Proceedings at the Senate special sitting were on Wednesday interrupted after Senators from both CORD and Jubilee demanded that the session be adjourned.

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They demanded the suspension of the special sitting until the anti-riot police were withdrawn saying it was a breach of parliamentary privileges.

Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale posed a question to the speaker asking if they had ”lost independence as a Senate” or are being ”held captive by the executive?”

“I have been denied access to this house… police dogs have barked at me,” Khalwale said.

“Has Parliament been held captive by the executive? Why have police barricaded roads near Parliament. We want to know why?” he asked.

The Senators then demanded that an investigation into the orders to have them present be carried out and a report brought back to the House.

In response, Senate speaker Ethuro condemned the anti-riot police presence and ordered them to withdraw. He said he had already protested their presence to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, but insisted that the session must go on.

“The police were not brought to create fear in the way we carry out duties in the parliament,” Ethuro said.

“I am going to direct the police and tell them we do not need them… they are not welcomed here.” 

The speaker directed the chairman of National security to investigate under what circumstances police came to parliament.

“This is not a police state. We are a democratic country,” the speaker said.

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The Senate are looking to either pass or strike down the amendments passed by the National Assembly, which allows the IEBC to use the manual system of voting and transmission of results if the electronic system fails.

CORD heavily opposes the bill and has threatened mass action on January 4, 2017, if the President signs the controversial bill into law.