Political punch-up

Kenya 2022: Fistfights over the political parties amendment bill

By Jeff Otieno

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Posted on January 4, 2022 08:05

A fistfight in parliament just before New Year’s Day revealed the high tensions in the succession battle to replace President Uhuru Kenyatta. Will the deep-seated rivalry between Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto plunge the country into another bout of election violence?

When minority party leader John Mbadi delivered a sucker-punch on his colleague Bernard Koros, leaving him with a cut below his right eye, many Kenyans were left doubting whether the battle to succeed Kenyatta will end peacefully.

The incident took place on 29 December during a special sitting of parliament to debate the contentious Political Parties Amendment Bill 2021 that seeks to, among other things, redefine the words ‘political party’ to include ‘coalition party’.

Kicks and blows

“He charged at me when I told him to get out after voting and he even bit my finger. What was I supposed to do? I used my pseudo-military tactics to defend myself and in the process he was injured,” said Mbadi, the Orange Democratic (ODM) party chairman.

An angry Koros – a staunch ally of the deputy president – complained that he had been attacked by ‘the master of violence’. Following the debacle, Mbadi

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