Anthony Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe
Members of Parliament yesterday reacted angrily to media reports that some of them have not been contributing to House debates.
Some women legislators led by Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa) chairperson Wangui Ngirichi, termed the reports based on data by Mzalendo.com malicious and aimed at digressing from the clamour for the two-thirds gender bill which is to be introduced in Parliament soon.
Another group of MPs from North-Eastern region accused the website of presenting half-baked facts to mislead Kenyans. Data listed in the website was the basis of reports carried in mainstream newspapers on Monday citing MPs who do not speak in the House but were vocal in public rallies and burials.
Outspoken Suba North Millie Odhiambo told reporters at Parliament Buildings that listing MPs as mute was tantamount to killing their careers.
“We are paid to talk and our tool of trade is the mouth. So the moment you accuse an MP of not talking you are simply finishing him or her politically,” said Odhiambo.
Wajir MP Fatuma Gedi, while dismissing the reports, said she has spoken more than 20 times in Parliament, which can be confirmed in the Hansard and yet appeared in the list of the ‘mute’ MPs.
Other MPs; Ahmed Ibrahim (Wajir North) showed the media a copy of the Hansard showing the number of times he had made contributions in the House.
The women MPs, who included Sofia Abdi and Prof Lillian Gogo (Rangwe) said women legislators were the most vocal in the House and wondered why the website had, in its data, showed many of them as among those who rarely contribute.
The Mzalendo.com data indicated that more than 14 per cent— over 50 of 349 — of Members of the National Assembly had not uttered a word or even attempted to make their maiden speech in the House since the inauguration of the Twelfth Parliament on September 13, last year. Seventy per cent of the MPs listed are first-time members and assumed to be learning the Standing Order.
Speaking in Mombasa on Saturday Speaker Justin Muturi confirmed some legislators were busy bragging of purported achievements in the House to their constituents yet the reality on the ground does not match their talk. Others, he pointed out, take credit for work done by other legislators.