by Martin Mutual
Close scrutiny from parliamentary watchdog committees is interfering with Government business, the Prime Minister has said.
Top civil servants are working slower because of House teams breathing down their necks.
It has also emerged there was an effort to prevent a committee from questioning Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday. The developments reflect a continuing power struggle between the Legislature and the Executive.
PM Raila Odinga complained about the effect of the excessive scrutiny during the first meeting of the House Business Committee on Tuesday evening. Raila said many senior civil servants were wary of being called in to explain or justify their decisions.
The PM reportedly stunned those attending the meeting when he said the operations of Government were being hampered due to the "fear" created by watchdog committees.
Speaker Kenneth Marende, who chairs the HBC, defended the public watchdogs, saying that was how Parliament was supposed work.
Watchdog committees have begun keeping a closer eye on public spending and are now challenging some payments before they are made. The Standard established the prospect of a date with the House watchdogs has made civil servants more cautious in approving any spending.
Government officials take more time on each transaction and get more involved in drawing up payment programmes.
Marende told the HBC meeting that with the new Standing Orders, the system of auditing and querying expenditure of public funds had now taken a new dimension.
He argued civil servants were to blame for failing to adapt to the new system. Those running scared, he said, were among the officials who had skipped a recent workshop organised by Parliament to appraise MPs and Government officials on the new Standing Orders.