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Nairobi Man Petitions Parliament to Impose Two-Term Limit on MPs, MCAs

TUKO 10/6/2021

  • The petition seeks Parliament's initiative in amending Articles 102, 148 and 180 of the Constitution to set the term limits for the MPs and MCAs
  • On Tuesday, October 5, Speaker Justin Muturi directed the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) to consider it
  • But as the debate on the petition got underway in the House, more and more lawmakers sealed its fate before reaching JLAC

Barely one year to the 2022 General Election, a petitioner wants Parliament to amend the Constitution and set a two-term limit for Members of Parliament and county assembly members.

The petitioner, Jonah Gachuki, argues that it is discriminatory to set term limits for the president and governors and allow lawmakers at the National Assembly and county levels to serve for limitless periods as long as they win in elective contests.

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The petition seeks Parliament's initiative in amending Articles 102, 148 and 180 of the Constitution to set the term limits for the MPs and MCAs.

On Tuesday, October 5, Speaker Justin Muturi directed the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) to consider it.

''Having determined that the matters raised by the petitioner are well within the authority of the House, I order that under the provision of Standing Orders 227 (1) the petition be committed to the departmental committee on Legal Affairs,'' Muturi said.

But as it appears, the petition is seemingly dead on arrival, with MPs dismissing it even before JLAC considers it.

''I think the committee should be spared from this kind of petition that they have more work to look into,'' said Robert Pukose (Entebbess).

Citizen TV reports that Pukose was seconded by his Kipiriri counterpart Amos Kimunya who observed that the petitioner would not go far with the document.

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''The petitioner is within his rights, but we need to advise him he is not likely to go far with this kind of petition,'' said Kimunya, the House Majority Leader.

More and more lawmakers sealed its fate before it reached the relevant committee.

''The reason why the terms of president and governors were capped was that these are CEOs of the Republic and the county. The rest of them, including us, are just there,'' said George Murugara (Tharaka).

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo expressed optimism that the committee would throw out the petition.

''There are excellent historical legal, factual reasons why only the Office of the President and the governors were limited and not these other elective offices. Therefore, the committee will do itself great justice by dismissing this petition,'' said Amollo.

Currently, about 40 MPs in the two chambers have served for at least 15 years.

In the National Assembly, Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache) is the longest-serving and in his fifth term now.

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Samuel Moroto (Kapenguria), Maina Kamanda (nominated), Adan Keynan (Aldas) and Gideon Konchella (Kilgoris) have been in Parliament for over 20 years.

Their peers include Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Cecily Mbarire (nominated), Katoo Ole Metito (Kajiado South), Naomi Shaban (Taveta) and Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), who have clocked four terms each.

In the Senate, Vihiga senator George Khaniri is serving his second term but has been a Parliamentarian since 1996 when he was elected in a by-election to succeed his late father, Nicodemus Khaniri.

Siaya senator James Orengo is also serving his second term in the Senate but first set foot in Parliament in 1980.

He was a member of the seventh, eighth and 10th Parliaments.

However, Imenti North MP Raheem Dawood differed with his colleagues, vowing to support the petition.

''This country, we tend to think that we have got a right to be elected every time, and I think there comes a time we need to give other people spaces as well. So if possible, let the petition be prosecuted, and I will be one of them who will be voting for it,'' said Dawood.

Muturi said that according to Standing Order 227, the committee does not need to table any report before the House but write back to the petitioner advising him on what they have found.

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