MP Mohamed Ali escapes sanctions after 'sneaking' gun into assembly - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 13 February 2021

MP Mohamed Ali escapes sanctions after 'sneaking' gun into assembly

 

Nyali MP Mohamed Ali escaped sanctions by a whisker on Thursday evening after he was found to have sneaked a gun into the National Assembly debating chamber.

House Speaker Justin Muturi, who was moderating debate in the chamber at the time the incident was reported, spared the first-time MP even though Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch said the matter needed to be handled by the Powers and Privileges Committee.

The dreaded committee is chaired by the Speaker and disciplines errant members and staff of parliament.

"Terrible oversight"

This came even as Speaker Muturi lambasted the parliamentary security personnel for the lapse.

“Sergeants-at-arms know it is their work to ensure nobody walks into the chamber or beyond the entrance to this chamber with a weapon,” he noted.

“I don't know how that could have happened. That must be a terrible oversight ... a terrible lapse,” the Speaker said and directed that female MPs' handbags should also also be checked by female orderlies in a “humane” manner to ensure that no weapons find their way into the debating chamber.

Mr Ali apologised for the incident but Mr Aluoch told the Speaker, “If there were a proper and fitter case to refer to the committee, this [would be it]".

"In view of the admission of the member, this matter should be referred to the committee," he said.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi walks to the chambers as Parliament resumes its sittings on February 12, 2019, after a two-month recess.

File | Nation Media Group

Rules violated

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo alerted the Speaker and the House about the offensive weapon in Mr Ali’s bag.

“Mr Speaker, I have noticed some behaviour that is not of good conduct for an MP. We operate under a code of good behaviour. I am not aware that an MP is allowed to walk in here with a gun but I notice that Hon. Ali is carrying something in his bag. If that is a gun then we are not safe,” Mr Odhiambo told the House.

The Nyali MP's action is a violation of Standing Order 100 of the National Assembly Standing Orders.

“No member shall bring a firearm or any offensive weapon into the chamber, and any such weapon must be deposited with the sergeant-at-arms for safe custody before entering the chamber, and collected at the time of leaving the chamber,” the Standing Order says.

The following was the exchange in the assembly following the discovery:

Mr Ali: My apologies. I forgot to leave my things outside [sic[. My apologies. I am a human being.

Speaker Muturi: Is it a gun?

Members (in loud voices) - Yes. It is a gun.

Speaker Muturi: (surprised by the turn of events) - A gun?

Mr Ali: Mr Speaker, allow me to surrender.

Members murmur

Mr Ali (in an appeal to his fellow members): Do not personalise this.

Speaker Muturi: Hon Ali, can you please go out and surrender?

Mr Ali (on his feet): Thank you Mr Speaker.

MP walks from the debating chamber carrying the bag with his gun. Members engage in loud murmurs before Speaker Muturi calls the House to order.

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo.

File | Nation Media Group

Political temperatures

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo warned that such actions should not be taken lightly given the increasing political heat in the country.

“Whereas I do not want to escalate the situation, I want to draw the attention to the fact that the country is becoming a bit politically volatile,” Ms Odhiambo, a third term MP, said.

“Because of that, I will request that stronger security measures be taken so that members do not come with such weapons. Even very well-meaning members, in the heat of the moment, can cause harm.”

Standing Order 99 (1) provides that a member shall be subjected to a security check or screening before entering the chamber.

“The security check or screening shall extend to a handbag or other accessory that a member intends to enter into the chamber with,” the House rules dictate.

Standing Order 101 provides that a female member may be allowed into the chamber with a handbag of a reasonable size.

How the Nyali MP carried the bag into the chamber, yet he is not in the category allowed by the rules to carry “a handbag of reasonable size” remains a puzzle.

Ms Odhiambo further asked Parliament to install gadgets that are able to detect guns.

“We are very good friends when things are not heated but when things get heated, I don’t know what gets into our heads and causes us to behave strangely.”

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo during a Nyanza leaders' consultative meeting at Ciala Resort in Kisumu County on February 8, 2021. 

Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

"Foul mouths"

However, Garissa Town MP Aden Duale and his nominated colleague Cecily Mbarire came to the defense of Mr Ali, specifically guided by the fact that he was apologetic.

“Let’s give Hon. Mohamed the benefit of doubt. This is a session that starts at night and maybe he was on his way home,” Mr Duale said.

“It’s not about the speaker or clerk taking security measures. We are leaders of the August House. We represent the people of Kenya. We should not be the first people to burn this country,” he implored his colleagues. 

Ms Mbarire warned that what some people utter is even more dangerous than the gun Mr Ali was accused of sneaking into the House.

“What do we do with people whose mouths are worse than those weapons? There are people whose mouths are worse than those weapons, Mr Speaker,” Ms Mbarire noted.

This prompted Speaker Muturi to order the Nyali MP to “say something”.

Garissa Town MP Aden Duale

The then National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale addresses the media at his office in Nairobi on May 22, 2019. 

File | Nation Media Group

This was the exchange:

Mr Ali: Sometimes as MPs it is good and wise to behave like gentlemen. We are all human beings so we can end up forgetting to do something. If my colleague noticed a problem, he should have approached me quietly … politely … and told me to surrender, rather than announcing my name on national TV and threatening my security. I think this is bad manners from a member. Rather than talking to you he is making it a Tangatanga affair.

Speaker Muturi: I thought you started off well by saying you were sorry - that you just forgot. I thought that was important. You offered to go and surrender[the weapon], which you have done.

Murmurs from MPs demanding that the Nyali MP be investigated for a security breach

Speaker Muturi: I don’t know why we want to escalate the matter. There is no need for us to escalate this. I am unlikely to be of use with regards to your mouths except when you are here. The foul mouths I will deal with here in the House, but when you are out there, you will be dealt with by other people.

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