Kenya MPs question Kimunya reappointment

January 28, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende is expected to give a ruling on the reappointment of Amos Kimunya to the Cabinet on Thursday.

Parliament had petitioned Speaker Marende to rule on Mr Kimunya’s reappointment, even after a vote of no confidence was passed against him.

Responding to a point of order by Public Accounts Committee Chairman Bonny Khalwale, the Speaker said the issue was weighty and called for reflection.

“The matters raised bring to the fore important factors relating to the doctrine of separation of powers, and in particular the relationship between this House and the executive arm of government,” he said.

Mr Khalwale wanted to know the constitutional implications of the reappointment, bearing in mind that Parliament had passed a vote of no confidence in the new Trade Minister.

“No independent institution in this country or commission has to date cleared Kimunya from the other grounds that culminated in his removal,” accused the PAC chairman.

“What are the constitutional implications of the executive defying and ignoring Parliament, which is the supreme law making organ; and finally what is the way forward in this apparent constitutional crisis between the executive and legislative?” he posed.

Mr Marende also urged the House Business Committee to prioritise the report on the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.

He said the motion by the Departmental Committee on Finance Planning and Trade should be presented on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Marende said he would give direction on the report when he gives his ruling.

“I note the concern by Imanyara (MP) as to whether or not it would prudent or expedient to remove this matter from the order paper until such a time that I make my ruling, but I will give some direction tomorrow (Wednesday) even as this matter is on the order paper, assuming that House Business Committee will respect the directions made by the chair,” he said.

This was after the Imenti North MP Gitobu Imanyara asked the Speaker to give the way forward as Mr Kimunya had not been cleared over his involvement in the Grand Regency, Safaricom IPO and the De La Rue saga.

He wanted to know whether a motion to discuss the report should be removed from Wednesday’s order paper, pending the Speaker’s ruling.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Martha Karua sought clarification on the professionalism of the parliamentary committee, and the handling and presentation of their reports.

“This goes to a series of reports and to the manner in which Parliament and its Committees are handling certain critical issues to this nation, in a manner that is leaving the country thinking that a partisan role is being played,” she posed.

“The issues being talked about are critical. There is need for us to be above board,” she pleaded.

A Parliamentary Committee on Finance — which also investigated the Grand Regency sale — ruled that Mr Kimunya was unfit to be a Cabinet minister and advised President Kibaki not to reappoint him.

Another inquiry into the sale by the Cockar Commission, which investigated the hotel sale, is said to have absolved Mr Kimunya of any wrongdoing in the case.

However, the commission ruled that the hotel had been undervalued and that the Treasury should have done more to advise Central Bank over the deal.


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