Cabinet Secretaries who fail to honour parliamentary committee summonses now risk sanctions.
One of the actions the MPs will now take is recommending the removal from Cabinet any CS who defies summonses as the legislators seek to assert their oversight role over the other arms of the government.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi read the riot act to CSs following complaints from House committee chairmen that this defiance has made it hard for them to conclude petitions or have members’ questions responded to.
Mr Muturi told the committees to stop “pampering” the rogue CSs and notify his office through reports of the cases, so that he can take action. “We need to see committee chairmen begin to flex muscles but within the law,” he said.
The Speaker said he is in receipt of a letter from Labour and Social Welfare Committee Chairman Ali Wario about a CS who has failed to honour the team's numerous invitations. The committee oversees the Labour ministry that is under CS Ukur Yattani.
The Sports committee has also had a difficulties having Sports CS Rashid Echesa appear before it with Sicily Kariuki (Health), Amina Mohamed (Education) also mentioned among those failing to honour invitations without valid reasons.
“You should be the one deciding when the CSs should come and ensure they produce answers as per the questions asked and issues raised in form of petitions," said Mr Muturi.
According to the House standing orders, committees are required to conclude petitions within 60 days upon their reading in the House by the Speaker. However, this does not happen as CSs fail to show up.
This prompted Lugari MP Ayub Savula to suggest amendments to the standing orders so that the CSs appear in the House to respond to the issues raised.
“We should bring CSs to the dispatch boxes. They don’t take Parliament business seriously,” he said.