NAIROBI, Kenya May 6 – A supremacy battle between the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) and Jubilee has taken a new turn as both groups dug into their hard-line positions over the control of two watchdog committees in the National Assembly.
CORD has refused to nominate its members into any House committee unless it is granted control of Public Accounts and Public Investment Committees.
Deputy Leader of the Minority Coalition in the National Assembly Jakoyo Midiwo says he will not submit names for any committee, insisting that CORD must chair and maintain majority membership in the two crucial committees.
CORD said it must have total control of PIC and PAC if it has to play its oversight role and provide the necessary checks on the Executive.
Midiwo told journalists: “These people would want a scenario where the committees are not in place indefinitely because then there is no oversight.”
CORD MPs have threatened to boycott House proceedings if Jubilee refuses to allow the opposition to have majority members in the committees.
Midiwo faulted Jubilee’s reluctance to surrender control of the two committees arguing that it undermines efforts to check the performance of the Executive.
“If you give them that chance they will never come to the table to talk. These committees are our trump card, because now we have them where we want them, and to change that will be foolish of CORD,” added the Gem MP.
However, Majority Leader Aden Duale says Jubilee will not give in to CORD’s demands and they have now withdrawn the goodwill of three slots donated to CORD to increase their numbers in the committees.
“I want to confirm that I have withdrawn the three memberships Jubilee had donated to CORD in the PAC and PIC and I have replaced them with the names from smaller parties. The only goodwill I can give them, based on precedent and practice, is the chair (of the committee),” Duale said.
He says the Committee on Selection had agreed that Jubilee reduces its majority in the oversight committees from 17 to 14 and raise CORD’s representation to 13 on top of the chairmanships. CORD wants 14 positions and 13 for Jubilee.
On the other hand, CORD has surrendered its demand to lead the Budget and Appropriations Committee and has vowed not cede any more ground in their clamour to control both PAC and PIC.
“If they don’t submit their names to the House by Wednesday, because the quorum of a committee is nine and Jubilee members in every committee is 18 once we approve the names of Jubilee members the next thing is we will move to the election of chairman,” Duale stated.
Speaker Justin Muturi had last week asked the parties to agree on the committees by Tuesday, but National Assembly Clerk Justin Bundi said he has not received even a single name to the remaining 24 committees.
“Parliamentarians have a way of managing this process and that is why I said I don’t want to anticipate this decision; I don’t want to antagonise the negotiating teams. Let them finish then tomorrow we shall have an answer,” Bundi told journalists at his office.