NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 4 – National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is to rule on Thursday on the fate of the Public Accounts Committee which has been dogged by corruption allegations leveled against its Chairman Ababu Namwamba. This follows a Motion initiated on Wednesday by Leader of the Majority Coalition Aden Duale.
The majority leader said the allegations needed to be substantiated as the integrity of Parliament and its members was at stake.
“There have been claims from other institutions including the EACC (Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission) to take over the matters of conduct and integrity of Members of Parliament–it is time for Parliament to start looking inwards before these bodies are invited,” said Duale.
Duale urged the Speaker to urgently address two major issues in order to save the credibility of the oversight committee and the members whose names had been tarnished by the allegations.
Duale’s sentiments were seconded by Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo who said Kenyans had lost faith in the leadership of the committee.
He cited social media reports which have been calling for the destruction of Parliament buildings as legislators were no longer performing their function of representing the needs of the people.
“Whatever is happening in PAC cuts across and we have to address ourselves because it is a grievous battle – if there are allegations of corruption and counter-allegations, they must be investigated,” said Midiwo.
He proposed a reduction of the number of Committees as there was a duplication in the roles of many of them stating that instead, the mandates of the committees should be expanded.
He also proposed that the leadership of oversight committees be a preserve of the opposition leadership in the House as issues of corruption would be dealt with at party level and cut down on claims of witch hunt.
Emuru Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno also expressed concerns over the matter and instead asked the Speaker to investigate all the chairpersons of the various committees to ensure they passed the integrity test.
Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso noted the concerns pointing out that this was not a Jubilee or CORD issue, but an issue of the whole House that needed urgent redress.
“Each of us is responsible for the action that each of us engages in, we cannot disassociate ourselves; we need to come into this together,” urged Laboso.
The man at the center of the debate Budalangi Legislator Ababu Namwamba who recently survived a vote of no confidence by a whisker acknowledged the issues surrounding the allegations but claimed his woes were as a result of infighting in the CORD coalition.
“Projection of this debate around PAC has had every sign of a political witch hunt, as a member of CORD and a member of ODM, political witch hunt from within my political party and coalition, witch hunt that has been latched upon by some of our rivals,” posed Namwamba.
Namwamba disclosed that he had met the Speaker and shared information with him, further seeking direction on whether he should make public that specific information.
He said the work of the committee should be reviewed to clear their name as they were being ‘painted’ as corrupt.
Other issues raised ride around the fact that there was no conflict resolution mechanism within committees with Ugunja legislator Opiyo Wandai proposing that the House leadership deal with the matter in camera, to protect the image of Parliament.
During the recently completed Leadership retreat, the leaders develop stricter mechanisms of conducting business and restoring order to ensure efficiency.