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ODM kicks Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo out for questioning Baba

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo addresses mourners at the burial of Mama Keziah Obama in Kegelo village, Siaya County, on May 1, 2021. .

Politician Raila Odinga’s ODM party has once again flexed its muscles and removed Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo from the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) of the National Assembly. Mr Amollo, who was the vice chairperson of the committee, will be replaced by his Ruaraka colleague Mr Tom Kajwang’ in the latest changes in the House that have also affected other MPs across the party divide.

The changes are contained in the National Assembly’s supplementary Order Paper for the afternoon sitting on Wednesday. In his reaction to ODM’s move, Mr Amollo wrote on Twitter: “The vicissitudes of politics. So the schemers want me out of JLAC. I will take it in grace and stride.”

Illegality issue

The removal of Mr Amollo, who is among MPs who have questioned the creation of 70 new constituencies in the proposed Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020, has caught the eyes of many.

Mr Odinga is pushing for the enactment of the Bill sponsored by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that he helped create together with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr Amollo’s comments on the initiative have been interpreted by ODM supporters as amounting to lack of respect for the party leader.

The joint report of the Justice committees of the National Assembly and Senate, that was delivered to the two Houses, found the creation of the new constituencies unconstitutional. On the creation of new constituencies, Siaya Senator James Orengo, the leader of minority in the Senate, has taken a position similar to Mr Amollo’s, but it is not clear whether the orange party will also go for him.

House rules

While discharging a member from a committee, the majority or minority whip is only required to notify the Speaker through the leader of majority of the intended changes.

The Speaker shall then read the changes to the House and this will be final. Mr Amollo’s Twitter post could be an indication that he learnt of the scheme to replace him without being accorded a fair hearing as provided for in the law.

Standing Order 176 (1) of the National Assembly Standing Orders provides that a parliamentary party may discharge a member from a select committee after affording the member an opportunity to be heard.

“The parliamentary party whip of the party that nominated a member to a select committee shall give notice in writing to the Speaker of the intention to discharge a member from a select committee,” the House rules read.

They further provide that the Speaker shall, within three days of receipt of the notice, inform the member of the notice. Just like Mr Orengo, Mr Amollo is Mr Odinga’s die-hard supporter.

The two renowned city lawyers are largely known for playing a great role in Mr Odinga’s success in the 2017 Supreme Court presidential election petition that challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election. –