, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 16 – The National Assembly has given in to pressure from the Executive and suspended next Tuesday’s sitting where Cabinet Secretaries were to appear and respond to MPs’ questions.
Leader of the Majority Aden Duale told MPs that there are some outstanding legal issues that should be addressed before Cabinet Secretaries can appear in the House.
“Honourable Speaker, I want also to confirm that the Committee on General Oversight will not sit on Tuesday October 21, 2014 to allow for consultation between the Legislature and the Executive. The House will be advised on the way forward through your communication next week,” he said during his weekly address to the House.
This comes after the President met all the chairpersons of various parliamentary committees on Wednesday and prevailed upon them to do away with the committee of the Whole House.
The issue has precipitated a tug of war between various Arms of Government with State House insisting the CSs should not appear before the House while the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi held that the committee was created within the law.
“We have the sole prerogative to create any committee – even if we decide to form one on street-lighting, no one will stop us,” said Muturi.
“It is immaterial that others will think otherwise. If some people have cobwebs in their minds it is upon them. I don’t understand what they are getting stomach problems from. The rules are clear – that we are a committee and we will report to the plenary like any other,” a furious Muturi said.
There was confusion during Tuesday’s sitting after Muturi told MPs that the Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Ole Lenku and Jacob Kaimenyi had vanished from the Office of the Leader of Majority where they were waiting for their turn to respond to MPs’ queries.
Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu appeared before MPs and ably responded to queries but her colleagues were nowhere to be seen when their turn came.
Lawmakers threatened to issue censure summonses to Cabinet Secretaries who fail to appear before the House when routinely summoned.
Parliament recently amended its Standing Orders to have the CSs appear before the house and respond to questions raised by MPs.
However, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua issued a directive instructing the Cabinet Secretaries to skip the special sitting of the House, despite earlier assurance that the process will not be abused
The Law Society of Kenya and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) maintain that the move by Parliament to summon Cabinet Secretaries to appear before the floor of the House negates the principal of separation of powers.
CIC has instructed its lawyers to go to court and block the Cabinet Secretaries from appearing before the National Assembly committee, terming the summons as unconstitutional.