Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, could not make his State of the Nation Address in Parliament for a full 30 minutes Thursday as opposition MPs held a noisy protest in the chamber.
The MPs blew whistles, shouted and waved placards, ignoring orders from the Speaker as they protested government’s excesses and rhetoric on crucial national issues.
This forced the Speaker to send close to ten MPs out of the house while one was forcefully dragged as he physically opposed his dismissal.
The matter was then taken seriously by the speaker who kicked one opposition MP out of the National Assembly under Kenya’s Standing Order 111 that locked him out of Parliament for the remainder of the session, a ban that could prolong to a year.
The raged MP responded over his actions claiming that the country was unstable economically, a motion he needed to drive to the president despite being ejected from the parliament by the speaker.
“Speaker has refused to listen to the voice of reason — we did say that there is no way we shall listen to a so called state of nation address when the whole country is angry. The country is disappointed, the country is unhappy by the misrule they have been subjected to by this illegitimate government led by one Uhuru Kenyatta,” opposition member of parliament Opiyo Wandayi said moments after he was led out of parliament grounds.
The president later challenged the opposition to come up with alternative policies rather than indulging in the “sport” of criticising.
After being thoroughly entertained, let us now get back to serious business #SOTN2016— President of Kenya (@PresidentKE) March 31, 2016
Other MPs defaulted the opposition for not respecting the president who is a symbol of national unity.
“I think Kenyans have not forgotten issues to do with 2007-2008. Let’s be responsible. It is not fair because suppose their leader was the one in power today, how would they feel when they see some people behaving the way they are behaving today. Today the parliament welcomed the president and despite the fact they are within their democratic right the issues they were raising they were pertinent, they were raising them at the wrong time,” Francis Mwangangi, a Member of Parliament said.
Another member of parliament thought the idea by the opposition to disrupt Kenyatta’s address was uncalled for and immaturely presented.
“It is unfortunate that the whole episode ended the way it did. It would have been more interesting if we as the cord fraternity decided to boycott the entire speech of the president. If we were not interested in listening to him then my take would have been, just as the speaker requested us, that we should be outside,” opposition member of parliament Thomas Mwadeghu said .
It must be understood that in Kenya, both government and the opposition have let Kenyans down. Service delivery remains a challenge.— Javas Bigambo (@Javasbigambo) March 31, 2016
In the past, President Kenyatta called on his critics to join him in efforts to better lives of Kenyans by positively identifying solutions to the problems that Kenya faces.