Residents of Meru County protested after failure to reimburse them bus fare after attending a public participation meeting called by a parliamentary committee to seek views on nomination of people from special interest groups to parliament.
The members of public drawn from 12 sub-counties who were attending the forum organised by the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee said it was unfair for the government to collect views without facilitating them.
The about 90 participants were shocked when Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara, who chaired the meeting together with his Rabai counterpart Mwamkale Kamoti, told them that they would not be given fare or lunch.
They were only offered sodas and water during the meeting held at Slopes Hotel in Meru.
Ms Hellen Kaberia, a Maendeleo ya Wanawake official from Igembe Central, said they were not informed that there would be no reimbursement when they were called by the respective assistant county commissioners.
“We feel used since we left our work to volunteer views using our own fare. To our surprise, we were told that there was no facilitation yet we had not been informed earlier on about it. We feel it is bad to be called by the government to help it make decisions yet there is no lunch or transport,” she said.
Mr Murugara said Parliament does not have an allocation to reimburse fares, a major impediment to public participation.
“This is a complaint raised in every forum we attend and could be affecting the turnout. I urge members of public to raise the issues with the public participation team,” he said.
Ms Kaberia said she was angered by the fact that the MPs failed to listen to their complaints when they said that there was no money.
“I wanted to ask if they (MPs) are using their salaries to hire the venue and travel, or they have been facilitated, and if they have been facilitated, why not us?” fumed the official.
The participants had spent hours discussing an amendment Bill which seeks to include Kenyans in the diaspora as a special interest groups to be catered for in the party lists from which 12 members nominated to the national assembly.
Majority of those who contributed called for nomination of more women to Parliament to boost their representation.