Kenya’s finance chief skips summons again

July 27, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – The Parliamentary Budget Committee was no Tuesday forced to adjourn its sittings for the fourth time in two weeks, after Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta failed to show up to explain how funds allocated in the 2009-2010 budget were spent.

The committee that is chaired by Elias Mbau accused Mr Kenyatta of failing to take the business of the House seriously. They dismissed a letter written by the Minister to the Clerk of the National Assembly excusing himself from the sitting citing "pressing national commitments."

Mr Kenyatta had accompanied President Mwai Kibaki on a Yes campaign tour of Embu, Mwea and Mbeere.

The Deputy Prime Minister had been expected to appear before the Committee to explain how Sh190 billion from the Consolidated Fund was utilised.

The committee refused to hear Finance Secretary Mutua Kilaka instead of the Minister.

"Our goodwill may not be pushed to the wall, so we wish to request you to impress upon the Minister on the matters that are pertaining to him. What we want is a commitment which we doubt you will be able to give us on the floor of the House when we shall remind him of the things we discussed here," said Mr Mbau.

Mr Kilaka humbly submitted: "We shall pass the message. We are obedient civil servants and we shall remain so forever more."

Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro, who also chairs the CDF Committee, said that the Minister should not be allowed to ignore Parliamentary business due to the ongoing campaigns on the proposed Constitution.

Parliamentary Committee on Education chairman David Koech accused the Finance Minister using "excuses" to avoid appearing before the committee.

He said his committee also found the minister "very difficult" to work with and wanted him reprimanded.

"The minister has arrogated himself the role of chief campaigner of the Yes team, a position that does not exist anywhere in the republic," said Mr Ethuro.

He now wants Mr Kenyatta to present a letter from President Kibaki allowing him to skip the committee meetings in favour of the referendum campaigns.

The National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act, states that parliamentary summons will take priority over any other duties, unless with the permission of the President.


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