Kenya to justify bloated Geneva travel

June 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – The government will on Thursday seek to justify sending five Cabinet Ministers to Geneva to articulate the coalition government’s position on Phillip Alston’s report on extra judicial killings and the cost of the trip to the taxpayer.

Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim directed the Foreign Affairs Ministry to furnish the House with an answer to Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo’s query to the government, to explain why such a delegation was necessary and its exact composition.

Mr Kilonzo also wants to know if the government will recover expenses incurred by the Ministers of Lands and the East African Community, whose presence on the trip he argues was unnecessary.

The question had been directed at the Ministry of Justice and National Cohesion, but assistant minister William Cheptumo referred it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying it bordered on international relations.

Mr Kilonzo complained that both ministries appeared unwilling to address the matter.

“This is yet another demonstration of a Coalition government that’s pulling apart and does not know what it is doing. When it is unable to resolve problems here it goes all the way to Geneva to wash its dirty linen in international public,” he said.

Garsen MP Danson Mungatana wondered why the government was trying to avoid answering the question.

“MPs have prepared for this question; Kenyans want to know what happened in Geneva why everyone was paid so much money and what that accounts for.”

It was then that Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka said his ministry would deal with the matter on Thursday.

“We had to consult hence the reference back to us and I can assure you that we have gotten information from the Ministry of Finance and we will give you the answer you require come Thursday,” he promised.

Attempts by the Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode, Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi and Githunguri MP Peter Baiya to have the issue handled by the office of the Prime Minister were thwarted, when the Deputy Speaker ruled that the PM responds to policy issues that are cross cutting in government.

“I think we are all aware about the sensitivity of the Alston report and in this regard I would like to ask Mr Speaker whether it would be in order for the Minister in this House to indicate which ministry he will be referring the question because it is a cross cutting issue rather than have this question tossed around,” he said.

Once again, the gaping role played by the Leader of Government Business was evident since he would have been able to give directions on the minister who would respond to such a question.


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