alexa MPs reject bid to set up watchdog office - Daily Nation

MPs reject bid to set up watchdog office

Tuesday September 15 2015

House Administration and National Security committee chair Asman Kamama who said Parliament would be giving away its freedom to a “dictator” if such an office was created. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROU

House Administration and National Security committee chair Asman Kamama who said Parliament would be giving away its freedom to a “dictator” if such an office was created. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROU 

JOHN NJAGI
By JOHN NJAGI
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National Assembly committees on Tuesday rejected a proposal to establish an ombudsman office to receive complaints against MPs.

The chairmen of the committees rejected the proposal by Leader of Majority Aden Duale, saying it was tantamount to “procuring a dictator for Parliament”.

The MPs, however, agreed to allow the Powers and Privileges Committee to come up with a code of conduct and propose punitive measures.

National Security Committee Chairman Asman Kamama said Parliament would be giving away its freedom to a “dictator” if such an office was created.

“There was no concurrence on this matter. Most of us do not want this prefecture in Parliament. Even my son, who is at university has freedom. We do not want prefects. Why do we want to procure a dictator for ourselves?” posed the Tiaty MP, during a two-day retreat for the House leadership that started on Monday.

Trouble started after the chairperson of the session, Ms Jessica Mbalu, read out a resolution that the office of the ombudsman be set up.

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The MPs objected, saying the proposal should be struck off the list of resolutions.

However, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo and his  Mbeere South counterpart, Mr Mutava Musyimi, supported the idea of an office to check the conduct of MPs, saying the “House cannot run away from it”.

Minority Leader Francis Nyenze said they would not agree to be “forced to adopt proposals” they were not comfortable with.

Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito  said the House had other ways of dealing with errant members.

Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi said that having a “prefect” to address the misconduct of MPs would expose them to their critics outside Parliament.

On Monday, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Mr Duale supported the proposed establishment of an ombudsman office.

Mr Duale said the proposed office should be headed by a person with legal expertise and experience in political affairs to advise the Powers and Privileges committee and the Speaker on how to deal with MPs who break the code of conduct and the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution, and recommend punitive measures.

At the same time, the MPs tasked the chairperson of the select committee on the Constituency Development Fund with ensuring that the revised Bill was published.

The MPs also agreed to reconstitute the Budget and Appropriations Committee chaired by Mr Musyimi.

They said they would amend the Standing Orders to reduce the membership of committees to either 17 or 19.