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Kenya: Controversial Bill Sparks Brawl In Parliament



As lawmakers debated a controversial bill, a scuffle broke out in Kenya’s parliament on Wednesday.

The speaker of parliament briefly suspended the sitting after the chaotic scenes, which saw at least two rival MPs exchange blows, according to images released by local media. A deputy, Bernard Koros, was injured during the brawl while another was expelled from parliament by the president.

The fighting erupted after hours of heated debate over the bill, which contains amendments to laws governing political parties and the registration of coalition groups for elections.

The legislation would allow a coalition of parties to field a candidate for election, unlike the current law which requires a candidate to be a party member or be independent in order to run for a seat. Opponents of the proposals say President Uhuru Kenyatta and his former opponent Raila Odinga will use them to form a formidable coalition ahead of the August 9 poll.

Party coalition

Although Raila Odinga is ostensibly the leader of the opposition, he and Kenyatta declared a truce with a handshake that made the headlines in 2018, after deadly post-election clashes the year before.

The pact fueled speculation that Odinga, a seasoned politician who has made four unsuccessful candidatures for president, will succeed Kenyatta. The two had sought to broaden the executive branch by proposing constitutional changes that could have allowed Kenyatta – who is in his second term and cannot run for president – to remain in power as prime minister.

The Kenya Supreme Court rejected these amendments in August, but the alliance endured, with Odinga often attending official government functions with Kenyatta.

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