, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3- The government was on Wednesday morning put to task by Members of Parliament over the inadequate funding accorded to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) for its humanitarian works in the country.
The legislators proposed that the Act of Parliament forming the KRCS be amended to enable it acquire independent assets through which to generate income.
Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo, Gitobu Imanyara (Imenti Central), Adan Keynan (Wajir West), Erastus Mureithi (Ol Kalou) and nominated MP Mohammed Afey argued that the NGO was forced to rely on shaky donor funding to carry out its activities.
“Mr Speaker it looks like the Kenya Red Cross has in many ways replaced the government itself. What the Kenyan government should have done is being done by the Kenya Red Cross under very difficult circumstances,” Mr Afey said.
Special Programmes Assistant Minister Mohamud Ali found himself on the receiving end with the MPs further proposing that the ministry’s budgetary allocation be reduced.
The assistant minister however defended his ministry from the proposal saying that the money they received from the Treasury was not enough.
He also noted that it would be great if the NGO acquired its own assets both movable and immovable.
“On the question of our huge budget being transferred to Red Cross should not arise because Mr Speaker we are actually under financed because the little that we get has been going to the needy as required. We need more financing,” he said.
Mr Mureithi challenged the government to buy food products from local farmers arguing that they were several parts of the country that were grappling with a surplus in food harvests. He added that these foods could also be used to feed the starving communities in several parts of the country.
However the assistant minister said that it would be impossible to transport the perishable foods to northern Kenya by road saying that the government would be forced to airlift them.
During the session Wajir South MP Mohammed Sirat was thrown out by Deputy Speaker for contravening the House rules. Mr Sirat had accused Mr Kilonzo and Kiema Kilonzo (Mutito MP) of having personal vendetta against the NGO.
Mr Sirat had claimed that the two legislators held personal interests in Kenya Red Cross.
However Mr Maalim asked Mr Sirat to withdraw his statements because he could not substantiate them.
“The Chair is going to apply the rules of the House to the letter. The honorable Sirat, for consistently disparaging your fellow members without a substantive Motion on the same, the Chair directs that you stay out of the House for the rest of the day,” he said.
Red Cross has been instrumental in providing relief aid to vulnerable communities in northern Kenya as the harsh drought continues biting. The society has however had to rely on donations from Kenyans of good will to raise enough money to undertake its activities. Kenyans have so far donated more than Sh112 million to the cause and the first round of food stuffs was flagged off on July 31 from Uhuru Park.