Speaker calls for tolerance
Written By:KBC reporters , Posted: Thu, Mar 06, 2008
House Speaker Kenneth Marende says it is important to nurture democracy, and be tolerant of each other and accommodate the diversities among the people of Kenya.
Speaking during the state opening of the 10th parliament, Marende said the move by President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga to agree to share power was a clear indication that political leaders have realized that Kenya is more important than personal interests.
The speaker said the two leaders have sacrificed their personal interests and urged Kenyans to support the move for the sake of unity of the country.
Noting that Kenyans were closely monitoring them, Marende urged MPs to rise to the occasion and spearhead the national healing process.
He said it was unfortunate that the 10th parliament has convened when the nation is deeply divided.
The speaker however criticized the Electoral Commission of Kenya -ECK- for failing Kenyans at the time of need due to lack of leadership.
He said Kenyans turned up bravely to exercise their democratic right on 27 December and did not expect to be plunged into chaos that ensued thereafter.
The second session of the 10th parliament was a radical break from the acrimony that characterized the 1st session when the new MPs were sworn in.
The session that began at 2.25 saw ODM leader Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka making their way to the chambers hand in hand, a welcome gesture from the two who only two months ago were arch rivals.
The two proceeded to seat in their respective places with Odinga occupying the seat set for the official opposition leader, while Kalonzo took the seat of the leader of the government business.
But with the signing of the peace agreement that could see Odinga become prime minister, the sitting protocol could very well change.
Moment’s later, religious leaders, followed by judges and then the President walked into the chambers.
Contrary to the swearing ceremony in January that was marred by protests and objections, Thursday’s sitting saw MPs sitting freely on both sides and engaging in chitchat.
The spirit of reconciliation was well captured by religious leaders who implored on the lawmakers to become peace ambassadors to heal the nation following the post election violence that rocked the nation.
And when the President rose to speak, he paid tribute to the two fallen legislators, Mellitus Mugabe Were of Embakasi and Kimutai Too of Ainamoi.
Kenyans who lost their lives in the skirmishes were not forgotten either.
The tenth parliament faces a historical task that will change the country’s political landscape.
The legislators are expected to deliberate and pass 4 crucial bills including the National Accord and Reconciliation bill, the Constitution of Kenya Amendment ill, the Establishment of the Truth and Justice Commission bill and the Ethnic Relations Commission bill.
Meanwhile, security was tight around the precinct of the August House Thursday ahead of the State Opening.
People from all walks of life converged around parliament building to witness the reopening of the parliament by President Mwai Kibaki.
Several streets were closed to members of the public while those who usually mule around parliament building to witness such occasion had been kept at bay.
Upon arrival at the buildings the president inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Kenya Air Force.