The Government Printer came under heavy criticism in Parliament on Wednesday as members claimed it was being used by powerful forces within the Government to serve their interests and sabotage reforms.
The role of the department, which is supposed to be independent, came under scrutiny during a heated debate on the now controversial constituencies that have been proposed by the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC) chaired by former MP Andrew Ligale.
Responding to a flurry of questions after issuing a statement requested by Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch, Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs assistant minister William Cheptumo expressed confidence in the Ligale team saying it had operated within the law under which it was established.
“The commission is independent and is not subject to any controls from any quarter,” the assistant minister said.
Mr Cheptumo said he had no idea why the Government Printer was yet to publish and gazette the report from the Ligale team, which has proposed additional 80 constituencies now at the centre of a storm from politicians.
The assistant minister confirmed to the House that the Printer received the report from the review commission on Monday, but did not proceed to gazette it until a restraining court order was issued the following day.
Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara accused the Government Printer of causing the country considerable harm and damage by failing to publish the report as asked by the Commission.
Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale said powerful people who have no interest in reforms were using the Government Printer to sabotage progress.
The MP alleged that like the IIBRC, the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission had also faced similar problems from powerful anti-reformists in Government “who do not want the truth to come out and the country to move forward.”
He was forced to withdraw and apologise for remarks that Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo be sanctioned by Parliament for issuing conflicting statements on the IIBRC.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka had complained that the member had imputed improper motives on the minister without moving a substantive motion.
Lands Minister James Orengo, however, held a divergent view saying Parliament has no business discussing the Ligale report, which was yet to be gazetted as required by law.
Nominated MP and chairperson of the committee on Delegated Legislation, Ms Amina Abdalla, dismissed the Ligale report as only a list of names of constituencies without an accompanying report on the boundaries.