, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 7 – Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Njuguna Ndung’u got off the hook on Wednesday after MPs voted to expunge his name from the Parliamentary Select Committee Report on Depreciation of the Shilling.
In the secret ballot, 46 MPs supported the removal of the governor’s name from the report while 37 opposed the move.
Parliament was forced to extend its sittings by six minutes to conclude voting on the matter. Parliament usually adjourns its afternoon sittings at 6.30pm.
The amendment was introduced by Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari who wanted a clause in the report stating that the Central Bank Governor takes responsibility for allowing the sharp decline of the shilling and steps aside to pave way for thorough investigations.
The House was sent into secret balloting after those opposing the amendment won the acclamation vote, but those supporting it managed to garner more than 15 MPs to push a division.
Gitari was supported by Eldoret South MP Peris Simam who said that the governor was being victimised adding that the report had failed to show that the CBK moved in to address the matter in good time.
However, Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo opposed the amendment saying that Ndung’u had to take responsibility for failing to act swiftly to save the shilling.
Midiwo said: “Governor Ndung’u is already condemned over the issue of Grand Regency. Whether you get rid of him now or later, he’s already condemned”.
Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim was forced expel Gwassi MP John Mbadi after he claimed that the votes cast did not tally with the number of MPs present in the House.
Both MPs Manson Nyamweya – a former classmate of Ndung’u – and Thomas Mwadeghu, a former CBK employee all supported the ouster of Ndung’u saying that he ought to take responsibility for the mess to the economy as a result of the rapid depreciation of the shilling.
Some MPs however felt that the CBK governor has done a great job in reviving the shilling which is now back on track.
Moyale MP Mohamud Mohammed Ali said; “I am well aware of those other recommendations which I have no problem with; I agree we need sound policies to defend our economy. But in as far as we zero in on an individual that is where I have a problem and the governor is not responsible.”
Nambale MP Chris Okemo broke ranks with his committee members and joined Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale in clearing the adverse mentions of Ndung’u regarding the way he had handled the depreciation of the shilling.
Okemo, who is also the chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, told the House that he attended only one meeting of the select committee but added that he had misgivings with the conclusions of the report.
“When I look at the facts and I look at the conclusions, there’s a problem,” said Okemo.
Khalwale had hinted at the amendment saying the whole report could be thrown out if Ndungu’s name was retained in the report.
The debate will continue on Thursday, when MPs are expected to substantively vote for or against the amended report.