The National Assembly on Thursday, November 16, 2023 voted to pass the motion on deployment of the Kenyan offices to Haiti as part of the United Nations-backed mission.
The motion, moved by Narok West Member of Parliament (MP) Gabriel Tongoyo, sailed through the House despite opposition from lawmakers allied to the Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition, who form the minority in the 13th parliament.
The Azimio MPs led by Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi opposed the debate of the motion, citing a court order barring the Kenyan government from deploying its officers to the Caribbean nation.
“We cannot proceed with debate on this motion until this matter in court is heard and determined one way or the other. Or until the interim orders that were issued by Justice Muita are either vacated or stood down,” Wandayi told Deputy Speaker Gladys Shollei.
“Madam Speaker, I want to plead with you to exercise your jurisdiction and wisdom to stand down this motion. As I conclude, let me ask you to allow me to table the court order that was issued by Justice Muita on this matter.”
On his part, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah argued that the orders granted by the High Court did not in any way bar Parliament from debating the motion.
“For all I know, the matter in court did not in any way restrain or give orders against the National Assembly carrying out our constitutional mandate to debate or approve,” the Kikuyu MP stated.
The deputy speaker proceeded to approve the motion for debate, noting that the National Assembly was not served with the petition seeking to halt the mission.
“Sub judice is when you discuss the merits and demerits of the case before the court, that is not what is happening here in the House. The House is just charged with the responsibility as set out in Article 240(7) and (8),” she said.
With the passing of the motion by the National Assembly focus now shifts to the Senate which is also expected to deliberate on the matter.
The Haiti mission received a nod from President William Ruto’s Cabinet in October.
The government, however, suffered a setback after the High Court slammed breaks on the operation following a petition filed by former presidential candidate, Ekuru Aukot, on October 9.
The court extended the orders on October 24 amid concerns over Kenya’s preparedness for the mission from various quarters including the opposition.