By GEOFFREY MOSOKU
NAIROBI, KENYA: MPs on Wednesday put Charity Ngilu’s job on the line after they approved a report that condemns her for violating the Constitution following an acrimonious session rocked by bribery allegations.
The National Assembly now wants the Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary to resign.
If she doesn’t, MPs have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to fire her, failure to which they will initiate the process of her removal from office.
The adoption of the hostile report opens the door for any MP to draft a special motion seeking her dismissal from Cabinet.
The motion would require the backing of at least 87 MPs to initiate and at least 166 MPs to force a select committee to investigate her.
Within ten days, the select committee would report its findings and if a recommendation for dismissal is supported by majority of members, the President shall sack her.
Odds are staked against Ngilu, considering her apparent falling out with ruling Jubilee Coalition, with none other than Majority Leader Aden Duale leading the onslaught. There is no love lost between Ngilu and opposition CORD either.
Ngilu, who is no stranger to controversy, this time landed into trouble following her illegal appointments that MPs ruled were unconstitutional.
An amendment to have her take “full responsibility for the unconstitutional, illegal, irregular and unprocedural acts of creating offices and making arbitrary appointments, promotions, transfers of staff in the ministry” has put her in a dicey situation.
“It’s now upon Ngilu to search her conscious and resign. Parliament has spoken and it’s clear her continued stay in that ministry is untenable,” said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, who moved the amendment.
Wandayi said the President should take the initiative to fire the besieged Cabinet Secretary since “Parliament does not act in vain”.
“We are now watching Ngilu and the President’s steps. Failure to act, I can now tell you, that MPs will initiate the process of removing her,” Wandayi added.
Earlier, bribery allegations marred debate on the report by the joint committees of Lands and Delegated Legislation.
The allegations were first raised by Suba MP John Mbadi who claimed that some unnamed “middlemen” had attempted to influence debate by offering bribes.
Mbadi told MPs that he had information of some people claiming to have gone to pick up money on his behalf but warned that he could not be compromised.
“If there is anyone out there saying that they are brokers between Mbadi and some officers, I am telling them they were conned and they should demand a refund,” he said.
Duale cautioned MPs not to be bribed with “cheap money” to compromise their integrity.
“If we go back to very cheap money and ethnic cocoons, the country will never move forward. The dignity of this House will be put to test,” Duale said.
The allegations stirred wild reactions with MPs led by Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi demanding that the two substantiate their claims.
“The two should substantiate the claims of blanket condemnations which are tainting the integrity of the House,” Angwenyi said.
However Duale said he was only cautioning MPs not to fall for cheap money.
Mbadi insisted that there was no need to substantiate the “obvious”.
Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko opposed the motion saying: “I want to be on record that if money has exchanged hands and if people have received money, I’m not one of them.”
Mwingi North MP John Munuve also alluded to the claims saying: “Some members have come here heavily armed and people have also been accused of receiving money but I can tell you that I have never received any money.”
Duale lobbied the House to pass the report, saying it was unfortunate that some MPs planned to blackmail them with an alleged dossier.
He said that while entering the chambers, he was accosted by Makueni MP Dan Maanzo who warned him not to contribute to the debate, as there was damming dossier on him.
Duale said that some MPs had gone to pick some deed plans signed by Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari to show that he was engaged in business with the Ministry of Lands and thus he was an interested party.
Jimmy Angwenyi, Peris Tobiko, Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South), Ken Okoth (Kibra) and Dalmas Otieno (Rongo) are among the legislators who opposed the report.
The opponents to the motion said that cartels who have been operating in the Ministry of Lands were now fighting back.
They claimed the cartels were behind Ngilu’s woes as they were opposed to reforms and the clean-up she had begun.
Angwenyi warned that the National Assembly was setting a bad precedent by seeking to discipline State officers instead of allowing the President to perform that duty.
Ms Tobiko said she was opposed to the report as it targeted females in leadership positions, citing the examples of former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza, former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Boss Shollei, and the alleged slapping of Nairobi Women representative Rachael Shebesh and now Ngilu.
Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando said it was the duty of the House to be a watchdog for the executive saying that it was clear from the report that Ngilu had breached the Supreme Law.
“I asked the Public Service Commission chair; do you in your opinion think the Cabinet Secretary breached the Constitution? Margaret Kobia answered yes. When we say that we are being finished because we are Kikuyus or women, it’s a violation of the national conscience,” Kabando added.