National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula called out the leader of the opposition Raila Odinga after the latter had publicly questioned the speaker’s eligibility.
During a rally in Kamukunji on February 4, Raila noted that Wetangula was not in any capacity to appeal the High Court’s ruling at the Supreme Court.
“Speakers across the world do not have the power to appeal. He (Wetangula) was there when the bill was passed as faulty as it is. He oversaw it,” Raila stated.
However, Wetangula retaliated by accusing Raila of failure to understand the Constitution and consequently misleading the public.
Azimio party leader Raila Odinga at Camp Toyoyo in Nairobi on February 4, 2024
He emphasised that Raila was being misled by his advisers to utter such remarks. Wetangula expressed that he respected Raila, however his recent remarks were embarrassing.
“It is quite embarrassing for the Former Prime Minister to be making statements that portray him, his advisers or handlers, as being ignorant of the law in particular on the role of the Speaker of the National Assembly,” he added.
According to Wetangula, during the Finance Act 2023 case in the High Court, Parliament was sued among others. He noted that Parliament was not satisfied by the ruling and followed its constitutional right to appeal.
He quoted Article 95 of the Constitution where the speaker is mandated to be the presiding officer of the National Assembly on any matter filed by or against Parliament relating to the discharge of its legislative functions.
Wetangula emphasised that Raila was aware of this role since he served as an MP before.
“Raila who is a seasoned legislator of many years knows this very well that in Court proceedings by or against the Speaker of the National Assembly, it is the Speaker of the National Assembly who has the legal duty to appear in court and defend the case,” the Speaker asserted.
He further noted that the National Assembly was only in court after being sued; it was not out of its own volition.
Wetangula elaborated that presenting bills to the president for them to be assented had been a practice since independence and is outlined in the constitution.
He advised Raila’s allies to familiarise themselves with the Constitution to avoid making similar remarks in the future.
President William Ruto signs the Division of Revenue Bill in State House on April 27, 2023. With him are (from left): National Assembly Majority Leader, Kimani Ichung’wah, National Assembly Speaker, Moses Wetangula, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, and Attorney General, Justin Muturi.