Lang’ata Member of Parliament Felix Odiwuor, alias Jalang’o, has opposed a bid to create the Office of the Official Opposition Leader.
Speaking during an interview at a local TV station on Friday, December 9, Jalang’o said the proposal that has the backing of President William Ruto is a plot to weaken Raila Odinga, the current opposition leader.
The youthful ODM party legislator claimed that the Kenya Kwanza administration was trying to bring back offices proposed in the failed Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) through the back door, after opposing the amendment of the Constitution in the period leading up to the August general election.
“These guys are just bringing back BBI in disguise. These are the same things that were in BBI like the position of the Prime Cabinet Secretary,” he said.
“The position of the official opposition, the creation of this office, it’s just not what you wake up and say you will create. You come to Parliament and knowing their numbers and how they have whipped the Kenya Kwanza team, it will come to pass if its something that they want and it will also be used to try and tame Baba (Raila).”
Jalang’o: Avoid incentives
For the opposition to remain vibrant, Jalang’o suggested, its leadership must avoid incentives from the current administration.
“I believe in the streets. The streets are louder any day than any official office. The same streets advocated for the constitution we have today. An official opposition will not do much in checking this government,” he added.
There are reports that President Ruto has given his seal of approval to a new Bill that seeks to insulate Raila from any civil or criminal proceedings while in office.
The proposed law, which Kenya Kwanza MPs have been asked to pass, will also give Raila powers to appoint his allies to independent and constitutional commissions and address Parliament and the nation periodically.
To be funded by taxpayers, the bill will give Raila, and future holders of the office, powers and discretion to solicit and mobilise for funding from donors as one way to supplement its budgetary allocation and to finance its activities.
Addressing Kenya Kwanza MPs at the Windsor Country Club on Monday night, Ruto urged them to speed up the passage of the Bill to create the office of the Official Opposition leader.
The Bill has already been published and will be tabled before the National Assembly once the House resume in February.
While addressing the MPs during a two-day symposium, Ruto said: “We need to accommodate the opposition; do not make things personal”.
Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung’wa said he is waiting for a communication from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Moses Wetangula, who will communicate the President’s message to the House.
“After the communication from the Speaker, the Bill will be subjected to scrutiny by members either to add or minus before they debate it,” Ichung’wa said.