An attempt by Kisumu Central Member of Parliament Fred Ouda to block Deputy President William Ruto from contesting the presidency in 2022 came a cropper yesterday after his colleagues shot it down.
MPs read political mischief in the petition and dismissed it as unconstitutional as it did not meet the constitutional threshold.
National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale fired the first salvo, saying legislators must refrain from using Parliament to settle scores.
“Parliament must first determine whether this petition is constitutional. Is he trying to say the DP cannot vie for the presidency in 2022? That is a wild dream,” he said, adding: “People are trying so hard to stop Ruto.”
This comes as Rift Valley leaders are reported to be planning a meeting at Ruto’s Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu county to close ranks amid claims his perceived political isolation to block him from succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
In his petition, Ouda argues the constitutional two-term limit for the presidency apply to the DP.
Ouda “claim to fame” was an incident in 2015, serving as an MCA in Siaya, when he stripped naked in protest to a tweet from a parody account bearing Ruto’s name.
Rarienda MP Otiende Amollo dismissed Ouda’s petition, saying it called for the interpretation of the Constitution not only on the presidency term, but also governors and their deputies.
“The petition…is a waste of Parliament’s and the taxpayers’ time,” he said.
Kimini MP Chris Wamalwa, however, said the petition was admissible on grounds that every Kenyan has a right to be heard.
Ouda argued that the Constitution provides for a two-term limit for the President and that since he is elected together with his deputy, he/she should leave office together with the Head of State.
“Article 148 (8) of the Constitution clarifies that a person shall not hold office as Deputy President for more than two terms. The election of the President and the deputy are so intricately intertwined in the scheme of the elective mandate, that both the Head of State and his deputy must be considered to derive their authority directly from the electorate and as such they are only eligible to hold the office of the presidency for a maximum of two five-year terms,” he said.
Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch also faulted the petition saying it lacked merit.
Ouda’s party, ODM, had distanced itself from the petition.
Chairman John Mbadi said Ouda drafted and tabled the petition in his private capacity and had nothing to do with the Orange party.
Ouda, however, denied allegations that the petition targeted Ruto, saying his only interest was for the interpretation of the Constitution on the matter.
He vowed to seek the interpretation of the matter in courts, saying the issues raised need to be addressed before 2022 elections.
The first-time MP also wants deputy governors who will have served for two terms to also be barred from contesting in future elections. He also denied claims that he was working at the behest of some powerful forces and reiterated he was only representing the interests of his constituents and Kenyans in general.
“It is unfortunate that members especially those from Jubilee dismissed the petition without giving me a hearing,” Ouda said.