Civil society opposes Cabinet Secretaries summons by MPs

October 12, 2014 1:13 pm

, MORRIS-ODHIAMBONAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12- Civil society groups have joined the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) in opposing summoning of Cabinet Secretaries for questioning by Parliament every Tuesday.

National Civil Societies Congress (NCSC) leader Moris Odhiambo said Parliament’s directive is only targeting at intimidate the Executive and not to exercise any oversight role.

“We are saying today that it is unnecessary. The National Assembly seeing that it has become very powerful, is now looking for ways of bullying the Executive,” Odhiambo said on Sunday during a press briefing.

They termed the move by parliament as unconstitutional calling on CIC not give up on the issue and ensure that Cabinet Secretaries do not appear before the House.

“The National Assembly is claiming to be guided by article 153, sub-article 3, which requires Cabinet Secretaries to attend Committees of the House. They are deliberately misrepresenting and misinterpreting that provision,” he complained.

Last month the National Assembly amended the Standing Orders to form a general oversight committee to be chaired by the Speaker and whose members comprise all MPs to sit every Tuesday morning and question Cabinet Secretaries.

But the lobbyists want the legislators to focus on developmental issues rather than come up with what they term as laws aimed at interfering with the role of the Executive and other independent State organs.

“We are concerned that both Houses of Parliament have been involved in coming up with unconstitutional laws with impunity. We disagree with the Speaker of the National Assembly who insists that this move is constitutional.”

CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae had written to the Speaker of the National Assembly about the matter threatening to go to court if a review was not done.

But in his response, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi said the commission had no business meddling in the affairs of Parliament and dared Nyachae to go to court.


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