Something I should have posted before, but quite relevant now that Parliament has passed two bills without a legitimate quorum voting
In May this year, the Daily Nation launched a quorum watch column to highlight the issue of lack of quorum in Parliament. It doesn’t give an actual summary of the attendance, duration or contribution of individual members of parliament, but it exhibits moments when the validity of debate, bills, and laws passed (if any) should be questioned.
Here are some excerpts from the month of June/July, and long before the Banana/Orange madness began that would take MP’s away from Parliament. Note that the parliamentary calendar during a year runs for 28 weeks.
Thursday June 9th (day after Budget Speech): Nation comments that Parliament failed to raise the required minimum to form a legitimate quorum that corresponds to their number each term – It currently stands at 30 (out of 222 members) At 5 PM, there were 12 members present, and by 6:15 PM, there were only 6.
June 16 (Thursday): At 6:12 PM, Wafula Wamunyinyi (NARC MP, Kanduyi) alerted temporary Speak Samuel Poghisio that the members in the House fell short of the number to conduct business. There were only 9 MP’s present, and House Rules require that there must be at least 30 MP’s present, excluding the one presiding (Speaker).
June 22 (Tuesday): Just 3 hours after Speaker Francis ole Kaparo warned members against absenteeism, the House was hit by a lack of quorum for a few minutes as Mutula Kilonzo (KANU nominated) informed temporary Speaker Samuel Poghisio that only 12 MP’s were present. Deputy Leader of Government Business George Saitoti, and Chief Whip Norman Nyagah “had a hard time trying to get more members into the Chamber.”
June 23 (Thursday): Only 13 MP’s were present as Finance Minister David Mwiraria responded to issues MP’s had raised regarding the Government’s expenditure. At one point, no MP stood to respond to Mwiraria’s speech, leading Speaker Kaparo to call on Mwiraria to respond to his own contribution. Elsewhere on that day, Speaker Kaparo described MP’s as being dishonest, selfish, lacking any ideology, ignorant of house rules and have put the house in disrepute.
June 23 (Thursday): Only 8 members in Parliament at 12: 15 PM – but no one alerted the Speaker.
June 28 (Tuesday): Bill on tax measures was being discussed when there were only 10 members present at 5:25 PM. No one alerted the Speaker.
July 5 (Tuesday): At 5:35 Wafula Wamunyinyi alerts temporary Speaker, Samuel Pogisho (MP KANU, Kacheliba) that there’s no quorum – only 15 (11 government, 4 opposition) MP’s are present at the time. Several MP’s grumble at Mr. Wamunyinyi’s move.
(Wednesday) July 13: Parliament has 74 MP’s present (a high) at 3:55 PM as they discuss the budget of the Office of the President (OP).
(Thursday) July 14: Discussion of the OP budget continues, but by 7:20 PM there are only 28 (21 government, 7 opposition) MP’s. The bell was rang, and quorum formed a few minutes later and MP’s passed the Bill at 7:36 PM. Although parliament normally adjourns at 6:30 PM, MP’s extended it by an hour to clear a backlog of work.
(Tuesday) 19 July: Discussion on the Forest Bill takes place with only 16 (14 government) MP’s present at 6:30 PM. No one alerts the speaker.
(Wednesday) 20 July: 2 private member bills are passed: One bill by David Koros (opposition KANU, Eldoret South) called on the Government to provide loans to mid-level colleges and was passed at 10:21 AM by 18 (14 government, 4 opposition) MP’s who are present. The other by Gor Sunguh (Government, Kisumu Town East) that seeks to regulate advertising is passed at 12:20 PM by 13 (11 government, 2 opposition) MP’s.
(Friday) July 22: Vote on the draft constitution/referndum extends to midnight before a full house.
(Tuesday) 26 July: Debate on ministry of agriculture only 19 in house at 5:30 – 15g 4 op – no one alerted the speaker over lack of quorum until 6:30 when the house adjourned. Also six question in the order paper were deferred as ministers and MPs failed to show up
(Wednesday) 27 July: parliament adjourns early due to a lack of quorum during a debate on the 8.3 billion budget of the ministry of agriculture.