, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 6 – The National Assembly has adopted a report that heaps blame on Lands, Housing and Public Works Secretary Charity Ngilu for unconstitutional appointments at the ministry.
The initial report by a joint departmental committee was amended to specifically place responsibility on the Cabinet Secretary for the unprocedural appointments.
The amendment was introduced by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandai and Busia County MP Florence Mwikali Mutua who urged the House to overcome political, tribal and regional interests and punish impunity.
Wandai moved an amendment to the report by the joint Committee on Lands and Natural Resources and that on Delegated Legislation reading that the Lands Secretary “should take full responsibility for the unconstitutional, illegal and irregular acts of creating offices and making arbitrary appointments, promotions and transfers in the ministry.”
Leader of the Majority Coalition Aden Duale and Suba MP John Mbadi had earlier claimed they had received threatening message for supporting the report.
“Mr Speaker when I was coming to the House (and I want it to go on record) one member of this House told me Hon. Duale do not debate on this matter because there is some adverse information on me. Mr. Speaker I have a history that I have never been investigated,” said Duale.
“Those who are using my statement to settle political scores or to bring another group of corrupt people into the system, stay warned that we will also catch up with you” Mbadi stated as he cautioned of conmen who have been extorting some officers.
The unlikely duo teamed up to alert the Speaker that MPs are taking “cheap money” to kill a report against Ngilu.
Duale had also disowned reports that he was spearheading a front to have the Lands Secretary sacked lobbying MP to pass a vote of no-confidence against her.
“Those going round saying that the report will ultimately remove a Cabinet Secretary are misleading but Mr. Speaker this report raises fundamental constitutional issues and I want my colleagues to rise to the occasion that we swore to defend the constitution.
“I speak for the Jubilee Coalition which will implement its manifesto based on the Constitution and the laws that we swore and I will never defend a position of the government if it contravenes the Constitution.”
Legislator James Nyikal,( who served as a Director of Medical Services when Ngilu was Health Minister between 2002 -2007), said he feared those pushing for the adoption of the report had ulterior motives.
“Why does Parliament speak in parables and make it difficult for members to make decisions?” he posed. “I support this report because the constitutional processes was not followed but I am waiting for tomorrow for anybody including the Leader of Majority to come and use this report to say that you people said the Charity Ngilu should be sacked; that would be dishonest! “
Lands Committee Chairman Alex Mwiru urged the MPs to support the report, saying Ngilu lied to the House Committee that she consulted the National Lands Commission and the Public Service Commission but she did not.
MPs Dalmas Otieno, Mwingi North MP John Munuve, Nyaribari Chache MP Jimmy Angwenyi and Magarini MP Harrison Kombe called for the rejection of the report saying that they were concerned that the debate on the adoption of the report had taken a political turn.
Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu is on the spot for contravening the Lands Act by creating the director general’s position and further appointing an office holder. In its findings, the committees say that Ngilu breached the Constitution, a fact that could open the grounds for her removal from office.
The joint committees on Delegated Legislation and Land have declared that Ngilu’s appointment of Peter Kahuho as the Director General of Lands was unconstitutional. The appointment has since been revoked.
The matter also took a feminist twist as some of the women legislators claimed that Ngilu was being targeted unfairly.
At some point during the debate, Nyandarua County Woman Rep Wanjiku Muhia claimed that Runyenjes MP Cecil Mbarire had been lobbying the women to reject the report.
“Mr. Speaker I am disturbed by Hon Cecil because she is claiming that the 47 women are in the House but they are not protecting other women and she is really speaking abusive language. I am asking for you protection because I am feeling very uncomfortable,” but the Speaker refused to intervene saying “that is like you claiming someone is pinching you but I didn’t see it.”
Kajiado South MP Peris Tobiko also claimed that there was a conspiracy to contain women who are holding powerful positions.
“I am just wondering after former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza, Nairobi County Women Rep Rachael Shebesh, former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei who is next?”
Kitui Central Rachael Nyamai was on Ngilu’s side, saying she had made remarkable reforms in the ministry. She questioned why some of her colleagues wanted to the return some officers who have frustrated land reforms back to the ministry.