As the debate before the aborted debate in the Senate raged Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Ekwee Ethuro appeared to sink deeper and deeper into his chair.
Two hours into the exchanges between the senators, it suddenly dawned on many of us covering the Senate that Ethuro had every reason to relax.
Unlike his colleague Justin Muturi, who leans forward and whose back rarely touches the back of his seat, Ethuro appeared to have been aware what he needed to do.
Sit. Listen. Take notes. Rule. Go back to holiday.
Unlike Muturi, who had to duck missiles on his last day in the House this year, Ethuro did not have to do anything he wouldn’t be inclined to.
Later, Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula would blast him in that passionately eloquent way of his: “My worst fears came to pass that the deliberate prolongation of the point of order raised by the distinguished senator for Tharaka Nithi was in fact a conspiratorial process to make it difficult for this motion to be debated in this House.”
Ethuro waited for him to finish in stony silence and when he was done, declared that the House stood adjourned.
What would Muturi have done?
He would have been sitting upright and from the moment Wetang’ ula made the second or third of his belligerent statements, he would have declared him out of order. One can reliably predict that the same would have happened when people like Omar Hassan or Dr Boni Khalwale contributed with the usual mix of sarcasm and well-worded digs.
At the end, he would not have resisted the impulse to get back at Wetang’ula and warm him of the great dangers of insulting the Speaker and accusing him of bias. That would have probably marked a descent into chaos and name-calling.
As it was, Ethuro did not even need to duck missiles.
He did not, like his colleague Muturi, even have to prepare a considered ruling. He wrote his on the papers around him and offered a moment of humour when he dropped them around him as he prepared to make his ruling.
Cord must be kicking themselves ( and if they are not then they should start) for allowing Ethuro to sit back in his chair and allow three hours of foreplay knowing very well they wouldn’t be getting any of the main action.
It is a House, in the end, that appears fully committed to the act of foreplay without thinking beyond that.