In 2018, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi oversaw a vote that imposed an 8 per cent VAT on petroleum products.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale, then House Majority leader, put up a spirited fight to have the law passed.
Three years later, the tune has changed. Muturi on Tuesday urged MPs to amend the law and scrap the tax blamed for rising fuel prices.
Duale, who has since been ousted as the leader of majority, accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of abusing his veto powers whenever Parliament rejected Government Bills.
“This House rejected the increase and introduction of VAT on petroleum. The President used his powers under Article 115. Uhuru has used it more than any other president–over 35 times. In fact, we need to go to judge Odunga and Ngugi for interpretation on this Article,” said Duale on Tuesday.
“This President is using his powers to make innocent hustlers to suffer and this House cannot sit and wait.”
But in a chaotic session presided over by Narok Woman Rep Soipan Tuya back in 2018, Duale is said to have orchestrated a scheme to deny the House the requisite two-thirds majority (233) required to override the President’s decision.
The MP is said to have led members out of the chambers as he allegedly locked others in toilets.
There were only 215 MPs in the House when a headcount was conducted but Ruaraka MP T.J Kajwang claimed that there had been more than 232 members in the House during the vote.
“Hon. Duale led a horde of people away. All of them went. ..you need to decide whether, first of all, it was in order for Hon. Duale to leave with his people. Two, if they went out, is that discounted from the general membership of the plenary?” posed Kajwang who voted “No”.
Millie Odhiambo, the Hansard shows, said when Tuya first called the vote, the nays had it. She noted that Tuya must have been convinced that there was quorum before calling it.
“If you looked at the electronic system, it showed we were even more than the actual legal numbers. Jesus Christ and religious and spiritual leaders, including Muslim ones, were with us in this House. That is why the numbers were higher,” said the Mbita MP.
Also taking the floor was Laikipia Woman Rep Catherine Waruguru who claimed that the “No” side had won, noting that there was no need to call a division in the first place.
Taking back his position, Muturi gave the members time to ventilate. Most of them complained about Duale’s behaviour.
Muturi then called for another vote but by then, the opposing side did not have the numbers.
“Hon. Members, unfortunately, even what I am saying is also being captured on the Hansard. It is also going to capture that there was a loud noise. That is the way it is configured. It will also be showing that there were loud consultations. That is what is going to happen even now,” he said, ignoring “Muturi must go” jeers.
The headcount turned out less at 215 members.
“In that case, the Ayes have it,” Muturi finally ordered.
And that is how Kenyans ended up with 8 percent VAT, two years earlier than anticipated in law.