6 December 2001

Kenya: A-G Fails to Move Media Bill

The Attorney-General, Amos Wako, yesterday failed to show up in the House to move the controversial Media Bill as opposition MPs called for its withdrawal.

There were several attempts by Members mostly from the Opposition for the Temporary Speaker Justin Muturi to drop the bill since the A-G was absent.

However, their moves were dashed after Kisumu Town East MP, Gor Sungu (NDP), raised a quorum hitch at 7.45 pm.

Nyeri Town MP, Wanyiri Kihoro (DP), said the whole country is waiting for this bill and it was wrong for the A-G to miss coming to the House to move it.

He said the House needs a satisfactory explanation as to why the A-G was not around.

"Is the A-G in the process of planning to withdraw the bill," Kihoro queried. Rangwe MP Shem Ochuodho said the A-G ought to withdraw the bill as issues contained in it touch on constitutional matters which might violate the Standing Orders of the House.

Gatanga MP, David Murathe, hit out at the Kanu Chief Whip, Simeon Mkalla, who he said was only interested in raising numbers for the Government on bills that they want passed.

Murathe said the Chief Whip should tell the House where Cabinet ministers were.

At this juncture, only Agriculture Minister Bonaya Godana was present. Muturi on his part said the bill has far reaching implications and the House requires a satisfactory explanation.

Dagoretti MP, Beth Mugo, said it was shameful that the Leader of Government Business, Vice-President George Saitoti and his deputy, Musalia Mudavadi, were not in the House when such an important bill was to be moved.

Mugo said this clearly shows that the Government is not serious about the bill.

Meanwhile, the Sugar Bill passed through the second reading last night. The House adjourned at 7.55 pm.

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