Expelled MPs should face swift by-election

In Summary

• Party leader Raila Odinga has expelled five MPs from ODM for supporting Kenya Kwanza

•  The MPs will have to stand in by-elections if the courts and Registrar of Political Parties uphold their expulsion

ODM party leader Raila Odinga  has expelled five MPs for voting with the Kenya Kwanza government.

Raila is right to do this because it makes a mockery of the opposition when its members start crossing to the government side as soon as the election is over. Raila's reluctance to accept the post of Leader of Opposition is understandable under these circumstances.

The opposition is weakened by defections to the government side. That is why government does it and that is why Raila objects.

President Ruto himself has repeatedly said that Kenya needs a strong opposition to interrogate government policies and keep it accountable. He is right.

Therefore the Registrar of Political Parties should not delay in deregistering these five MPs from ODM, and any other MPs who are expelled from their parties. If the MPs appeal, the courts should handle their cases expeditiously.

If MPs face quick by-elections when they do not respect the party whip, then they will think twice about 'crossing' or defecting. The opposition will remain large and united on critical issues.

If, as a result, the opposition bloc becomes effective, then government will be held more accountable, something that all Kenyans want.

Quote of the day: "Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin they think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives."

Siegfried Sassoon
The English poet-soldier was born on September 7, 1888

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