President William Ruto’s allies hinted at supporting constitutional amendments, which will see former Prime Minister Raila Odinga granted more powers as the opposition leader.
Speaking during an interview on NTV on Thursday, December 1, National Assembly leader of the majority Kimani Ichung’wah expressed that they would support the idea of financing Raila’s office through the exchequer.
However, he insisted that the funds needed to be used for public functions only.
“If they intend to bring any form of a bill that they want a bipartisan approach, we are always willing to engage with anybody in this country.
“Nothing stops any leader from soliciting funds so long as those funds are for the use of the public. If it is for personal use, then that cannot be,” he stated.
In response to proposals to have Raila address Parliament every year as the President, he opined that parliamentary affairs needed to be left to elected and nominated members.
“There is nothing wrong with having a forum for the opposition leader to engage with Kenyans. I do not believe that the floor of parliament is where that should happen,” Ichung’wah added.
On the other hand, United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman Johnson Muthama asserted that the move would ensure that the country is more united after the elections.
He opined that the current system left poll losers in the cold, making other Kenyans feel left out of government.
“Ruto won with 7.2 million votes, and Raila received 6.9 million votes. If you look at Raila, are you saying the person does not deserve to have an office or car fueled up to reach his supporters?
“Are you telling me that person should not have a public system to reach the people? That will be an injustice,” Muthama expressed.
The constitutional amendment Bill sponsored by Azimio is expected to be tabled before the house floor in 2023 after MPs resume sittings from recess.
In the changes, Azimio proposed that the opposition leader also have the power to make appointments to select parliamentary committees.
Other proposals in the Bill include creating the Office of the Deputy Opposition Leader, whose operations are funded by the government.
“The leader of opposition shall be the candidate nominated by a political party or coalition political party or coalition political parties which secures the second greatest number of votes in any concluded presidential election,” read the proposal in part.
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