During an extraordinary session on 29 December, the Kenyan parliament became the scene of a physical clash between the two movements that will face off in the August 2022 elections, the UDA (United Democratic Alliance) led by Vice President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja represented by Raila Odinga. What was supposed to be an extraordinary session held by parliament’s justice committee to harmonise and moderate the discussion on amendments to the much-discussed Political Parties Bill, instead turned into a physical rather than dialectical conflict.
The root cause of the protests was allegedly a lack of trust on the part of UDA MPs in the justice committee, who did not feel that it could perform its role well. In particular, they objected to the presence of members of both the Registrar of Political Parties and the Court of Disputes on Political Parties, considering them too involved in the issue to contribute to the debate. Chaos ensued, which ended with UDA members leaving parliament and declaring that they would table their amendments on Wednesday.
The sitting then continued for another two hours considering the other proposed amendments and excluding those of the departed MPs. In particular, the committee rejected the amendment that called for a reduction to form a coalition from 6 months before to 4 months before the elections and another one that would have allowed independents to participate in party coalitions.