Ruto allies read politics in list of attendees invited to chambers

Friday, November 13th, 2020 00:00 |
A member of Military Police dusts a carpet that was spread at the President´s dias during yesterdays State of the Nation address. Photo/PD SAMUEL KARIUKI

Hillary Mageka  @hillarymageka

 This year’s State of the Nation address by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the seventh since he took over office in 2013, was marked with pomp, colour and drama in Parliament.

The address, which was delivered under tight Covid-19 protocols, was supposed to happen in the first quarter of the year but was scuttled by the pandemic.

The address is in accordance with Article 132 of the Constitution, which mandates the President to report on measures taken and progress achieved in the realisation of the national values set in the Article, as well as the progress made in fulfilling international obligations.

In yesterday’s joint sitting, only 114 out of the total 416 lawmakers drawn from both the Senate and the National Assembly were allowed in the National assembly chambers for the address.

Eighty eight seats were reserved for the National Assembly members while 26 were handed to senators.

The rest followed the proceedings from the other designated areas within the precincts of parliament.

However, there were murmurs after senators perceived to ally to Deputy President William Ruto were excluded from the list of attendees in the main chambers.

“We have been asked to watch the presidential address on TV,” Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said.

“It seems BBI was prepared with some individuals (Caliphates) and interests in mind. Otherwise why would certain people suffer from a high voltage running stomach each time they hear about amendments to the report?” nominated Senator Milicent Omanga, an ardent supporter of DP Ruto, added.

Unlike in the past, there were minimal interactions between MPs and the President with the Speakers choosing to host the head of state at their offices for debrief.

At 2:19pm, the presidential motorcade emerged from Uhuru Highway and joined Parliament Road via Harambee Avenue roundabout.

As the Head of State alighted from his limousine, a guard of honour had already been mounted by the Moi Airbase for inspection.

At hand to welcome him were Deputy President William Ruto, Chief of Defence Forces George Kibochi, Speakers Justin Muturi (national Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate), National Assembly majority leader Amos Kimunya and his Senate counterpart Samuel Poghisio. Others were majority whips Senator Irungu Kang’ata and his minority counterpart Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.

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