Wrong time for theatrics

It is a pity that on the very day Parliament resumed business after prematurely adjourning after being unable to transact business, melodrama and theatrics should take centre-stage.

Without seeking to apportion blame for this anomalous situation, it is a fact that parliamentary proceedings are in a state of flux, and steady hands will be required to steer debate in the House.

It is not clear, however, how MPs expect the Speaker of the National Assembly to appoint an official Opposition for them.

Speakers are not in the business of giving guidance on who should occupy that hallowed position, especially in a situation where most parties are members of a Grand Coalition.

It is upon the backbenchers themselves to constitute themselves into an opposition, dispensing with the niceties of parliamentary tradition in the interest of national cohesion and healing.

After all, the position of Official Opposition does not have a very long history in Kenya. It is only 13 years ago that the country became a multiparty state after more than three decades of de jure and de facto single party rule status.

While we do not expect our representatives to be swallowed up by the coalition-building activities of their colleagues in Government and fail to keep the Government in check, we also do not expect petulance to reign at a time when everyone is expected to play his or her role to assist in national healing.

However, it is absolutely necessary for the Speaker to interpret what the laws and the Constitution say about such an unprecedented situation. That is not too much to ask.

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