Cabinet Secretaries worry over MPs’ question time

September 30, 2014 3:02 pm
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Information, Communication and Technology CS Fred Matiang'i and Transport CS Michael Kamau said they were concerned that service delivery will be affected. They expressed concern that they might end up 'living in Parliament" because of supplementary queries filed by unsatisfied members/FILE
Information, Communication and Technology CS Fred Matiang’i and Transport CS Michael Kamau said they were concerned that service delivery will be affected. They expressed concern that they might end up ‘living in Parliament” because of supplementary queries filed by unsatisfied members/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 30 -Time management has emerged as one of the major issue Cabinet Secretaries say will affect their work now that they are required to appear before the National Assembly to answer questions.

The Cabinet Secretaries who held a meeting with MPs at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday say it will likely be a challenge to them because they do not have assistants as was the case before.

Information, Communication and Technology CS Fred Matiang’i and Transport CS Michael Kamau said they were concerned that service delivery will be affected. They expressed concern that they might end up ‘living in Parliament” because of supplementary queries filed by unsatisfied members.

“Our concern will be the amount of time we will be required to be in the House, considering that we do not have assistant ministers. Some of my colleagues like Amina Mohamed in Foreign Affairs or (Joseph) Lenku will from time to time be forced to be out of the country,” Matiang’i stated.

Several MPs who have spoken at the forum including the Jubilee Coalition Whip Katoo ole Metito (Kajiado South) who previously served as Internal Security Minister had some advice for them.

“To say we do not have time because we don’t have assistant ministers is a matter of planning,” Metito said.

Lenku, his Lands counterpart Charity Ngilu and Education CS Jacob Kaimenyi will be the first to face the legislators October 14 to answer to questions from MPs following approval of the new law.

“This has been discussed and it has been agreed that we move in this direction that the CS and the PS do consult wildly before giving responses because we do not want see a situation where a CS is embarrassed on the floor of the House,” Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi said.

The provision was created following members’ frustrations over responses presented by committee chairpersons that were often unsatisfactory.

Muturi and the Majority Leader Aden Duale assured the Executive that the newly formed General Oversight Committee Sitting will not be used as a ‘lynching pad’ adding that CSs will be protected against intimidation.

Duale added that the forum will be used to communicate government policies and ensure interaction between the Executive and Legislature.

The General Oversight Committee to be held every Tuesday morning will tackle the challenge of unsatisfactory answers adding that CSs will no longer be required to attend committee sessions.

Three CSs will be appearing before the MPs every Tuesday between 10am and 1pm in sittings but it will not be normal House sittings.

MPs will be drafting questions for CSs to be approved by the Speaker before being forwarded to relevant ministries. Each CS will respond to between 10 and 20 questions during the sitting. The CSs will also be allowed to respond in writing.

The Majority Leader will be the link between Parliament and the Executive in setting the agenda for the CSs questions.

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