Azimio MPs Storm Out Of Parliament During Affordable Housing Bill Debate

Written by on 21 February 2024

Members of Parliament allied to the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party on Wednesday stormed out of a House session debating the controversial Affordable Housing Bill, 2023 after their attempts to propose amendments were thwarted.

The MPs lambasted President William Ruto accusing him of high-handedness in forcing through the Bill despite the fact that it’s unpopular with Kenyans who are facing a myriad of problems.

They wondered why the proposals they had made on the Bill were rejected in a wholesale manner, accusing their colleagues of taking instructions from the Executive.

Nominated MP and ODM National Chairman John Mbadi threatened that they could be heading to court over the Bill which he said has been pushed down the throats of unwilling Kenyans.

“What Kenyans are witnessing is dictatorship by President Ruto, this is the real Ruto, a dictator who doesn’t care for as long as his interest are served, the housing levy only serves only Ruto’s interest,” he lamented.

“He is determined to push it whether Kenyans like it or not, whether they are crying or not. Even the Executive knows it’s not a good Bill, but they are still determined to push it through.”

Several Azimio MPs had proposed amendments to the Bill including and not limited to deducting 1.5% of the net salary and not gross salary as per the Bill.

However, each of their amendments were thrown out by the majority side, which shouted them down.

Minority Whip Junet Mohamed claimed Parliament was under Executive dictatorship and warned of possibility of Bills being rushed to the House without due process.

“We think if Parliament continues doing business in this manner then we are going to have a problem in the near future, but we can’t sit and participate in a rubber stamping process,” said the Suna East legislator.

He also claimed that some Azimio MPs had been coerced to vote in favor of the Bill or risk developments happening in their constituencies being stopped.

His Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amollo lamented that the Bill had been rushed through the House and Azimio MPs denied a chance to debate on it.

He said the House needs to examine if the national government needs to involve itself in building houses despite that function being devolved, and exactly who will be benefiting from the houses built.

“In good faith we had proposed a number of amendments but it has become clear to us that the instructions they have is to reject anything that has come from us. The process that is going on is robotic, it’s meaningless, its pre judged and it was agreed in Naivasha and we see no need in participating in it,” he said.

The Bill sailed through to the Second Reading in the National Assembly after 141 MPs voted to support it against 58 who opposed it during the Tuesday sitting.

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