Passaris Defends Controversial Vote As ODM Threatens Disciplinary Action
Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris has firmly denied allegations of her supposed involvement with Kenya Kwanza and reiterated her commitment as a member of the opposition Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party.
Addressing the media outside Parliament after the reading of the 2023/2024 Budget, Passaris dismissed claims that she had abandoned the coalition led by Raila Odinga. The speculations emerged due to her stance during the voting on the proposed Finance Bill 2023, which was presented for the Second Reading in the House on Wednesday evening.
Contrary to the positions of both the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, under whose ticket she was elected, and the Azimio coalition to which she belongs, the County MP voted in favor of the Bill. However, Passaris clarified that her vote should not be interpreted as a departure from her political affiliations and stressed her continued support for the Azimio coalition.
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“Mimi bado niko Azimio na niko ODM, nimekuwa ODM tangu 2007; na nimesupport Baba na pia ametusupport sisi kama candidates,” she said.
In justifying her decision to support the contentious Bill, despite her faction’s opposing stance, the MP asserted that as an elected representative, she bears the the responsibility of representing not only those who voted for her but also those who did not.
She further implied that her support for the Bill would secure vital resources for her constituents, including access to the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), Constituency Development Fund (CDF), and infrastructure development projects that would benefit the people she represents, and by aligning herself with the Bill, she believed she could effectively advocate for the needs and interests of her electorate.
“I want to tell Kenyans; both those who voted for me and those who did not, immediately we are sworn in as MPs, we swear to work for everyone, not only those who voted for us,” she said.
“Huwezi kusema wale ambao wamekaa hapa wa Kenya Kwanza hawafikirii watu wao. We are thinking about our people they are thinking about their own.”
“What I want to say is that we can’t without money. Our country has got a long journey. We don’t want austerity measures to be brought by lenders. We have to stand so that as the other MPs from both sides demand CDF, NGAAF and ask for roads or hospitals, that requires money.”
Passaris voted in favor of the bill despite strong opposition from Azimio. The bill ultimately garnered support from 176 MPs, while 81 opposed it.
Meanwhile, the Raila-led ODM party has called for disciplinary action against all its MPs who supported the bill, as well as those who were absent during the voting session.
ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna announced in a statement on Thursday that show-cause letters had been issued to 28 party members, including Passaris, Lang’ata MP Phelix ‘Jalang’o’ Odiwour, and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.
The letters seek an explanation from the MPs regarding their voting behaviour and absence during the crucial session.