Muturi censure motion debate turns lively as Kenyan MPs use quotes

For all the excitement it had generated, the censure motion against Speaker Justin Muturi was defeated last evening in the National Assembly.

But it was a day of powerful imagery and ageless philosophical quotes when the National Assembly prosecuted the first censure motion against the first Speaker of the 349-member House.

The mover of the motion, Patrick Musimba (Kibwezi West) set the ball rolling when he reminded MPs that he did not take it kindly whenever the Speaker reminded some MPs that the debating chamber was not ‘a fish market’.

Musimba, who sat alone near the aisle next to the door, was always going to find it tough. Even before he spoke, the heckling was too loud. It was meant to intimidate him to the extent that for a minute, he had to plead with Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso to be allowed to read a speech, which was rejected.

Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) spoke about a ‘stinking mouth of a king’ who is about to read a story for school children to show the Speaker there were some truths that have to be told, if only to make him stronger.

It was also a time for introspection as Ababu Namwamba (Budalang’i) and Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South) reminded MPs to look in the mirror, because, every time the House degenerates into chaos, it is the MPs to blame.

Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi) took the cake because he not only translated retired President Moi’s ‘Siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya’, but also quoted former US Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington to show that while style is fleeting, principles were rock-solid.

The thrust of Chepkonga’s argument was that Muturi made crass and rude remarks in ‘light moments’, and Musimba confused that humour for abuse. Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) dropped a quote from Francis Imbuga’s Betrayal in the City: “When the madness of an entire nation disturbs a solitary mind, it is not enough to say the man is mad,” to show that Musimba had the courage to speak about the ills in the House.