House Budget team in limbo as MPs rejects move to reinstate members

Friday March 11 2016

The National Assembly in past session.  FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The National Assembly in a past session. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

More by this Author

MPs on Thursday again rejected attempts to reinstate a majority of members of the Budget and Appropriations Committee after parties decided to retain most of its members.

Majority Leader Aden Duale was forced to withdraw two motions, one to rescind last month’s decision to reconstitute a new committee and another to elect new members, following a stormy debate in the House.

The move means the powerful committee will remain in limbo for at least six months, by which time the National Assembly is expected to have resolved the impasse and picked a new team.

The former committee, chaired by Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi, attracted the wrath of MPs after it was discovered that the 51 members had shared among themselves Sh3 billion worth of projects for their constituencies without following due process.

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, who led an earlier initiative by MPs to reject the committee, again expressed dissatisfaction with the former committee, whose term lapsed after three years and was either to be renewed or a new team elected.


“I have complained for the past two years since the committee took undue advantage, allocating funds for themselves without due process. If there is pork to be shared, there is a procedure,” he said.

Mr Midiwo said some of the issues raised by MPs regarding skewed allocation of resources had been addressed in the Budget Policy Statement, tabled in Parliament last month by Treasury CS Henry Rotich, spelling out the procedure on sharing resources by region.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi allowed more time for MPs to build a consensus on the matter, after members overwhelmingly resolved that more time was required for deliberations.

Nairobi Woman Representative Rachael Shebesh had earlier called for the debate to be adjourned, saying the issues likely to be discussed would paint Parliament in a bad light in the eyes of the public.

Following an impasse on the composition of the Budget committee, Mr Muturi ruled that the liaison committee take over the budget-making process until a new team is in place.


Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch said he supported the decision to elect a new team but not Mr Duale's proposal to rescind the earlier decision to kick the previous team out of office.

Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwandeghu said the mood of the House was against the committee and that most lawmakers were for electing fresh members.

He, however, called for more time to build a consensus among members on the next course of action.

Only Meru Woman Representative Florence Kajuju supported rescinding the earlier decision to disband the committee, saying the move would still the pave way for electing a new team if MPs see the need for such a move.

MPs have also expressed reservations, accusing the former team of usurping the powers of other committees, such as the Finance Committee, and called for guidelines spelling out the mandate of the Budget team and other parliamentary panels.