The grand experiment of democracy in a presidential system such as ours can only be as efficient as the Legislature a country puts in place to check on government, and ensure that their decisions are a product of robust public participation and backed by relevant laws and regulations.
That is why Kenyans should be concerned about reports of a push by President William Ruto’s administration to woo minority MPs in a bid for a two-thirds majority.
Such a majority will allow MPs veto powers to approve or reject key legislations, especially those under the protected clauses of the Constitution that require a two-thirds membership in both Houses of Parliament to pass.
That means Kenya faces a real risk of MPs passing every Bill brought by the government, including bad laws. President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza has 179 MPs, 54 shy of a two-thirds majority.
We have travelled this road before, and so ought to know better. The Jubilee Party’s plan of 2017, which was just 30 MPs shy of a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, ended up pushing unpopular laws down Kenyans’ throats, as evidenced in the current Parliament’s attempts at reviewing Uhuru-era laws as we reported recently. Similarly, the atrocities and dictatorial laws of Kanu’s single-party rule should not be forgotten.
We equally reiterate our position that a proposed merger of parties to have one umbrella unit by President Ruto’s allies is a step in the wrong direction that should be quickly nipped in the bud. A supermajority in Parliament, if ever, should only be in cases where those in the minority have been convinced and feel strongly about the issue in question, and not because of a lack of divergent views.
The current balance of power is good for Kenya, with the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition—which is the majority side in the National Assembly—boasting over 150 MPs. It should be jealously protected. Kenyans must resist any move to break this position, even if it means recalling MPs who choose to join the bandwagon for selfish gain.