, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 18 – Members of Parliament from the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) have backed calls for the suspension of the primary school laptops project until queries surrounding it are resolved.
Ford Kenya Secretary General Eseli Simiyu said the Coalition’s Parliamentary Group Meeting chaired by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga noted that the queries might taint the implementation of the well intentioned venture.
“We demand that the government comes clean on the laptops project and answer the question being raised by the Parliamentary Committee on Education before proceeding with the project. Free education has been a product of a long struggle for equity.”
“CORD Coalition happens to have those who came up with the dream of free education under the former National Rainbow Coalition. We will not sit back and see it being abused,” Simiyu said during a media briefing after the meeting.
The Education Committee of the National Assembly over the weekend called for the halting of the Jubilee administration’s flagship project after it raised queries over its tendering process which saw India’s Olive Telecommunications walking away with the deal.
At the same time, the CORD meeting which was attended by 97 Members of Parliament approved an amendment to the Commission of Inquiry Act after the President failed to meet the coalition’s demand to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe the Westgate Mall attack and other issues that are affecting Kenyans.
“We therefore resolve to take a Motion to Parliament to amend the Commission of Inquiry Act that currently makes it the prerogative of the President to set up one. We need an inquiry in Westgate, poaching, admissions to Form One and NSSF Tassia Project among others,” read the CORD resolutions.
The Parliamentary Group meeting has further demanded that the Government addresses concerns that have dogged the Standard Gauge Railway line.
At the same time, the coalition resolved to maintain its leadership in the National Assembly despite concerns over its handling of parliamentary matters.
Simiyu said the PG mandated the CORD Principals led by Odinga, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula to hold further meetings with leadership in the Assembly to replenish MPs expectations.
The dissatisfaction in the performance of the House leaders came to the fore during last week’s Parliamentary Group meeting where MPs threatened to replace Chief Whip in the National Assembly Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi North MP) whom they accused of abandoning his duties.
CORD is represented in the National Assembly by Leader of Minority Francis Nyenze (Kitui West), his deputy Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem), and his deputy Whip Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini).