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MP accuses Speaker in committee impasse

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 24 – Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto now claims that the offices of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly are frustrating the workings of the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

Addressing a media briefing, Mr Ruto denied claims that the committee has been wrangling and instead accused the leadership of Parliament of accepting to be manipulated by a section of the Executive.

He claimed that the leadership in Parliament had frustrated the committee and made it look like it was in disarray.

"It\’s not something the Speaker is unaware of and he is the one who is stopping us from meeting, so he must tell the world what he is up to," he said.

He further faulted the Liaison Committee which is headed by the Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim saying it overstepped its mandate by recommending for the reconstitution of the committee. 

"This is a meeting of chairmen of committees, it cannot seat and say one of us can be voted out," Mr Ruto said.

He added; "The Standing Orders don\’t provide for the Liaison Committee to reject a Committee\’s decision; it only facilitates the next meeting."

Mr Ruto said that the like-minded MPs are now considering ways of taming such leaders.

"Everyone who holds a leadership role in Parliament has a mandate that they must adhere to, you cannot just impose your own rules on others, so we are deliberating and you will see when we decide to act," he said

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PNU lawmakers and those allied to suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto in ODM have been furious with Mr Marende over last Wednesday\’s  ruling that shifted control of the constitutional legislative process to the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee which they claim is dominated by ODM.

Six PNU legislators and their allies have written to the Speaker to protest his decision to remove the troubled Justice and Legal Affairs Committee from the implementation process.

Mr Ruto said Mr Marende\’s ruling was illegal as it transferred powers to an ad-hoc committee with ministerial members that can be dominated by the Executive. A permanent parliamentary committee has only MPs as members.

"We have written to Marende telling him that he has no powers to take over the roles of any committee and that he is supposed to be the custodian of the Standing Orders. We have told him we want to discuss this matter with him so that the committee roles can be brought back," said Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto.

The Committee has been paralysed by a dispute among its members over the competency of its chairman Budalang\’i MP Ababu Namwamba since January.

Last week, six members passed a resolution to oust Mr Namwamba following a dispute which originated over the rejection of President Kibaki`s nominees to key posts in the judiciary including the Chief Justice.

Both the ODM and PNU are anxious to control key appointments and influence legislation to be channelled to Parliament through the committee. Some MPs also want to influence the creation of new constituency boundaries after the process was suspended last year.

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