NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – Cabinet Secretaries will now appear on the floor of the National Assembly to answer questions directly from Members of Parliament following the adoption of a Motion amending the Standing Orders.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi declared the Motion adopted after an overwhelming majority of the MPs who attended Wednesday afternoon’s session vocalised their assent.
“The ayes have it. This House adopts the Procedure and House Rules Committee report on review of Standing Order number 44 dealing with statements and actualisation of provisions of Article 153 of the Constitution of Kenya,” Muturi declared.
The report received the support of MPs on the floor of Parliament including that the Majority Leader Aden Duale who said it would allow them to better engage the Cabinet Secretaries.
“Speaker because we have no direct engagement the many motions of impeachment that are flying across, at the lobby, in the bar, the lists which are moving… Maybe the lists will come down because members will have an opportunity to engage ministers and ministers will have an opportunity to engage members,” he said.
Seme Member of Parliament James Nyikal said the motion to allow Cabinet Secretaries take questions on the floor of the House was positive as the members would now be able to get first hand answers to their questions.
“I must thank you for this Mr Speaker. You chaired the committee. We have seen the tribulation of chairs (of committees) Mr Speaker, trying to angle their way around with information many times they don’t understand. I know from my previous life that when ministers were giving answers on this floor they were well prepared. Literally they were educated,” he said.
But while agreeing with Duale and Nyikal, Mogotio Member of Parliament and former Minister Helen Sambili said the Cabinet Secretaries first needed a tutorial on how to engage with the MPs on the floor of the House.
“Before this is enacted I suggest a political tutorial for the Cabinet Secretaries so that they know how to respond to the issues so that we don’t have situations like we have at the moment seeing some Cabinet Secretaries in the media talking so arrogantly,” she said.
After the promulgation of the Constitution, Cabinet Secretaries who are no longer Members of Parliament, could no longer take questions on the floor of the House; only before relevant committees.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich will present the Budget Estimates and Revenue 2014/2015 on the floor of Parliament on Thursday and is likely to be the first to face MPs queries later once debate on the statement takes place.