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Over 40 MPs want to be members of Transport Committee

By Roselyne Obala and Daniel Psirmoi | Published Fri, December 8th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 8th 2017 at 10:04 GMT +3
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi. The lawmaker said many MPs allied to the Opposition want to be members of five committees. [File, Standard]

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Opposition MPs are scrambling to join National Assembly committees considered lucrative.

At least 40 MPs allied to the National Super Alliance want to be members of the National Assembly Transport Committee ? more than double its membership.

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By contrast, only two opposition MPs - who are not lawyers - want to join the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, yet consideration for placement includes professional background.

Other committees that have attracted cutthroat competition are Defence and Foreign Relations, Energy and Communication, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Public Investment Committee (PIC).

The five committees are considered plum because their oversight roles touch on lucrative areas such as state corporations with huge budgets, with the attendant opportunity to make money, including foreign travel.

Bribery claims have in the past rocked Parliament, with allegations that unscrupulous MPs were extorting bribes from top officials of state firms under investigation.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi acknowledged the committees had attracted immense interest.

“We are in interesting times. We have many seeking to be placed in the Energy, Defence and Foreign Relations, and Transport committees. The watchdog committees have also attracted much interest,” the Suba South legislator said.

But he rejected suggestions that the interest was motivated by their being considered lucrative.

“This word is seriously annoying, it means corruption. Members’ work in the committees is to make a difference. Understand the mandate which I believe is to influence development and not personal interest,” he said.

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There are 32 committees and membership for each is between 15 and 27 members.

“The placement takes consideration of profession, regional and gender balance, and party interest. I hope members will appreciate if they don’t get the committee they wanted. They should bear with us,” said Mbadi.

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