Kenya’s Cabinet secretaries are not above the law and should honour invites from House committees to respond to questions, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said yesterday.
He said the CSs have no excuse not to appear before the committees and warned that stern action will be taken against those who fail to honour the invites.
The Speaker said the Cabinet secretaries must comply with the provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders.
Muturi was responding to concerns raised by the MPs.
He directed committees’ chairmen to furnish his office with the names of the CSS who deliberately snub the invites. Muturi said the Powers and Privileges Committee will take action against them.
“If a committee determines that a person deliberately failed to appear, the team should communicate to us so that the Powers and Privileges Committees can issue a summons,” Muturi told the MPs.
However, sometimes MPs are to blame as at times government officials come to Parliament only to be turned away for lack of quorum in the committees.
For instance, two weeks ago, Kenya Pipeline Corporation chairman John Ngumi was to appear before the Energy committee, which is chaired by Nakuru Town East David Gikaria.
Though he arrived on time, he was turned away as only three MPs were present. Muturi warned MPs that it is not acceptable to keep witnesses waiting at committee rooms.
Yesterday, he told the committees to be firm and not to take any answer from the CSs if they feel they are not well researched.
“Don’t pamper anybody. You should decide when they should come back and ensure they produce answers as per the questions asked,” Muturi said.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula said some CSs were declining to honour invitations sent to them by committees.
He said it has become hard for the committees to operate proposing that the House should amend the Standing Orders and the Constitution to ensure that CSs are appointed from within Parliament or they are allowed to respond to the MPs’ queries from the House.