Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has irked MPs yet again after failing to honour parliamentary invitation to respond to questions raised by legislators.
Dr Matiang’i was Tuesday scheduled to appear before the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security to answer 14 questions that have piled over a period due to his non-appearance before the committee.
Attempts to have the questions responded to by his Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Patrick Ole Ntutu failed as he was turned away by the committee vice chairperson Mr John Waluke (Sirisia), who chaired the session yesterday.
Ministers are however represented in such committees by CASs and Mr Ole Ntutu has previously represented the Interior CS in such deliberations, but this time the vice chairperson would have none of it.
“Go and tell the CS that we want him here physically on Tuesday next week. We know that he is a very slippery CS but he has no otherwise but to appear in person,” Mr Waluke ordered.
Mr Waluke’s order comes as National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed all the committee chairpersons and their deputies to ensure that witness appearance is enforced without fail and take the necessary action against those who fail to appear.
This comes after the committee chairpersons complained that they are facing difficulties having questions by members responded to as well as concluding important matters like petitions among others, as the CSs have made themselves “deliberately” unavailable.
That the CSs have also resorted to sending the CASs to the committees who cannot commit their ministry’s or are clueless to the issues sought by the legislators.
Although Mr Muturi promised to issue a ruling on the matter, he directed the committees to stop pampering the rogue CSs but furnish his office with details so that action can be taken, which includes sanctioning truant witnesses through removal proceedings initiated by MPs.
“If they (CASs) cannot commit their ministries, you throw them away. Because you can’t listen to someone who cannot commit,” Mr Muturi said.
Mr Ntutu had claimed that Dr Matiang’i’s docket is one of the busiest that if not chairing a cabinet sub-committee, he is in security meetings either in the city or other parts of the country, a response that was not well received by the committee members.
The CASs further told the committee that the executive was yet to receive communication from parliament directing all CASs not to appear before parliamentary committees.
“We have not received any communication that CASs should not appear before parliamentary committees. I would not have come had there been such an arrangement,” Mr Ntutu told the committee.
But Nyakach MP Aduma Owuor warned that Dr Matiang’i runs the risk of being punished for his own actions.
“This CS is taking this committee for granted. We have already lost lives on questions that needed urgent responses from him,” Mr Owuor said.
Last year, Mr Muturi directed the committee chairmen not to take any answers from CSs that “every response must be signed by the CS and not any other functionary.”
Mr Muturi also told the MPs to hold the CSs to account on the kind of answers they provide to them and urged the Committee on Implementation to follow up and ensure that the executive acts on its own commitments.