Politics

Senate adjourns after MPs arrests - VIDEO

Senate adjourns after MPs arrests - VIDEO

Summary

  • Both Mr Malala and Dr Lang’at had their residences surrounded in the wee hours of Monday morning, while Mr Lelegwe was arrested on his way to Parliament.
  • Mr Malala remained holed up in his house in Kitengela and was later arrested in the afternoon.
  • Senator Murkomen said the arrest of the three is an assault on the constitutional order.

Once again, the Senate has adjourned debate on the controversial third basis of sharing revenue among counties.

This time, the adjournment was prompted by concerns on the whereabouts of three senators.

Senators Cleophas Malala (Kakamega – also the Deputy Minority Whip), Christopher Lang’at (Bomet) and Stephen Lelegwe (Samburu) are said to have been arrested under unclear circumstances.

Both Mr Malala and Dr Lang’at had their residences surrounded in the wee hours of Monday morning, while Mr Lelegwe was arrested on his way to Parliament.

Dr Lang’at was also arrested while Mr Malala remained holed up in his house in Kitengela, Kajiado for the better part of the morning, with DCI officers camping outside. He was later arrested in the afternoon.

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka ordered the committee on National Security chaired by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji to summon Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, Police IG Hillary Mutyambai and DCI Director George Kinoti to explain the whereabouts of the three.

“The committee should summon all the parties and report back to the House in the afternoon,” Mr Lusaka ruled Monday morning.

No reasons for arrests

The police have not given reasons for the arrests but senators from Team Kenya, who oppose the revenue sharing formula developed by the Committee of the Finance, insist that their opposition to the formula favoured by the executive is what has put their colleagues in trouble.

When the Senate convened Monday morning to continue debate on the formula, angry senators insisted that they could only proceed with the business if the three were presented in the House.

Standing to move an adjournment motion, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei described the absence of the three legislators as an issue of national importance and proposed that the senators should be produced before the House transacted the business.

Democratic gains

The motion was seconded by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr who reminded President Uhuru Kenyatta that the House will not allow him to claw back the democratic gains the country has achieved in the recent past.

“Let President Uhuru know that we shall not allow it (muzzling of the Senate). We must adjourn and make it clear to Mr Mutyambai that we need the three senators here unless they have committed treason,” said an agitated Mr Kilonzo Jr.

“If we allow this (the arrests), there is no reason why we are legislators. When did Kenya become a police state?” he asked.

Mandera Senator Mohamed Mahamud said the Senate is on trial over the issue of the revenue formula and warned the Uhuru administration against clawing back the recent democratic gains.

“We have a new Constitution with a liberal Bill of Rights which are being rolled back. This is intimidation to deny us the numbers to execute the critical business before the House which is the vote on the formula,” he said.

“We don’t want revenue or anything else. We just want our freedom back,” he added.

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri demanded the release of the three, saying that their arrests herald the return to the old dark Kanu days.

Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata supported the adjournment, arguing that every lawmaker is entitled to freedom of his choice but doubted that the Jubilee government could arrest a senator on the basis of his work.

“We are no longer talking about the formula because we have jumped into the realm of politics,” he said, adding that adjournment would allow members to look at issues surrounding the formula more objectively.

Senator Murkomen said the arrest of the three is an assault on the constitutional order and declared that knowing the whereabouts of the lawmakers was a more important motion than even the one on the revenue formula.