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Cabinet Secretaries to appear in Parliament for grilling

01 October 2014, 12:55 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Cabinet Secretaries (CS) will have to appear before the National Assembly to respond to questions raised by the MPs, and regularly provide full reports on how they are dicharging their mandates.

Although the Constitution bars the appointment of ministers, the National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi clarified that the CSs will appear before the 349 members of the House.

The move has done away with the current oversight of the Executive where the CSs have been appearing before the House committee to respond to questions which are thereafter relayed to Parliament by the committee chair, a practice the MPs argued was ineffective.

“That session will not be used to lynch you. We will enforce our rules without fear or favour. We will not allow trivialities,” said Muturi.

Read Also: Embu Speaker faces contempt of court charges in Wambora's impeachment

The Speaker asserted that the General oversight committee chaired by him has been established pursuant to Article 95 (2) and 153 (3) of the Constitution requiring ministers to make regular and full reports to Parliament.

Under the new arrangement, three cabinet secretaries will appear before the committee every Tuesday between 10am and 12.30pm to respond to a maximum of five questions each.

The National Assembly’s Majority Leader, Aden Duale challenged the CSs not to fear appearing before the House saying it will be the best opportunity for them to sell government policies and raise the visibility of their ministry activities.

“The intention of forming this committee that will be chaired by the Speaker or deputy Speaker is to make relations between the House and the Executive more friendly. It will help Kenyans know what you are doing to address their concerns,” said Duale.

However, the CSs expressed their fear regarding the time they will spend in Parliament responding to questions and asked whether they will also appear before the Senate to respond to similar questions.

“We are concerned about the amount of time we will spend in Parliament considering that we don’t have assistant ministers. We would have several functions outside the country and I hope you will indulge some ministers like Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs), Joseph Ole Lenku (Interior) and Phyllis Kandie (East African Affairs),” said the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i.

Muturi said Article 110 of the Constitution clearly spells out the mandate of the Senate and the August House and asked the CSs to seek Attorney General’s opinion on the matter of duplication of committees.

Muturi and Duale were speaking in a breakfast meeting where they had hosted 16 cabinet secretaries and their Principal Secretaries in preparing them to appear before Parliament when it resumes from recess in October 14.

The first batch of cabinet secretaries to appear before the House include; Charity Ngilu (Lands), Joseph Ole Lenku (Interior and National Security) and Prof Jacob Kaimenyi (Education).

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