A female Member of Parliament was slapped and another splashed with water on the face by an irate male colleague, as chaos erupted in the National Assembly yesterday over an attempt to divert money meant for the schools laptops programme to pay teachers.
It was an afternoon of ugly scenes and shameful conduct by MPs that saw insolent behaviour and derogatory language turn the hallowed chamber into scenes reminiscent of town hall brawls. The height of chaos was when Suna West MP Joseph Odege ordered some JubileeÂ women MPs to â€˜shut up!â€™, but after he was heckled he grabbed and slapped Laikipia County MP Sarah Korore in the face.
Drama escalated as Meru County Women Representative Florence Kajuju, who was sitting next to Korore, dared the assailant to a fight, but a fuming Odege grabbed a bottle of water and splashed it on Kajuju. The matter degenerated into a near mass brawl as other members, led by Jujaâ€™s Francis Waititu, joined in the side of the women MPs, threatening to pounce on Odege.
Heated drama had started unfolding during debate on the Appropriations Bill, when Cord moved amendments to have money set aside for the primary school laptops project diverted to pay teachers who are on strike. Hell broke loose after their Jubilee counterparts carried the day during division to determine the fate of the amendments moved by Minority Deputy Leader Jakoyo Midiwo, after heated debate.
Furious words and insults unheard in Parliament before were traded across the floor, as Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso appeared to lose all control. The incident between Odege and the women MPs did not mark the end of the ugly events. After Cord lost the vote, Midiwo, annoyed by the outcome, gestured at Subukia MP Kimani Ngunjiri who was celebrating with the V (for victory) sign.
A charged Ngunjiri did not take it hands down and tried to dash to where Midiwo was, but was restrained by colleagues. And in an attempt to fuel the situation, Sirisia MP Waluke also flashed the V sign to the Jubilee side. Nyando MP Fred Outa also had to be restrained as he attempted to scale the division barrier to square it out with Ngunjiri.
The session sunk into more drama after David Ouma of Ugunja tried to grab the mace before the Sergeant-at-Arms and his officers moved to stop him. And when the mover of the motion was called to respond by Laboso, Cord members demanded for yet another division, which was overruled. They remained adamant even as Laboso ordered them to address themselves with decorum, prompting her to walk out of the chamber in a huff, marking the end of the chaotic session.
Earlier, Cord had put up a spirited attempt to have the money set aside for the laptops programme re-allocated to pay the teachers, but were defeated by the Jubilee side. The defeat marked the start of the shouting match with Cord leading with the popular campaign refrain â€˜bado mapambanoâ€™ (the struggle continues), which was countered by the Jubileeâ€™ side withâ€™winner eh eh eeeh winnerâ€™ hymn.
Attempts by Laboso to call for order fell on deaf ears, forcing her to wait for the members to calm down. At this juncture, Kisumu Town East MP Ken Obura was thrown out for lack of decorum. All the amendments proposed by Cord MPs were defeated with only that of Jubileeâ€™s Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet sailing through. He had sought to have Sh2 billion removed from the Education Vote to address the teachersâ€™ pay.
Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui had earlier distanced himself from his Jubilee side, to have money withdrawn from the Education Vote to pay the teachers, but was defeated after his side disowned him. And in his amendment, Midiwo had sought to have Sh47 billion re-allocated from the education and a further Sh3 billion be given to the political parties and Sh1.6 billion to the DPPâ€™s office.
But Johnstone Sakaja, TNA nominated MP, dismissed Midiwoâ€™s proposals as â€˜politicalâ€™, saying Cord was out to fight off the laptops project for fear of its success. Sakaja said money from the Education Vote could not be re-allocated since it was for, among other needs, free education. The House was expected to meet later in the night to pass the Bill which, according to constitutional timelines, could not have gone beyond yesterday.