KQ merger runs into headwinds over public participation

The planned merger of Kenya Airways (KQ) with profit-making Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) yesterday ran into fresh headwinds over claims of inadequate public participation.

MPs yesterday protested what they termed as a scheme to sneak in the contentious National Aviation Management Bill, 2020 - which seeks to make KQ a parastatal - without engaging key players in the sector.

The protest forced National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to order another round of the collection of views to prevent a possible court case.

Some of the members of the Transport Committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing said on the floor of the House that reports by some key stakeholders were not taken into consideration.

Wajir North MP Ahmed Abdisalan, a member of the committee, said a KAA evaluation report was not considered by the committee. He claimed that the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and Competition Authority of Kenya were also denied an opportunity to submit their views.

At least five members of the committee dissented from the report.

“I am one of those who have dissented from the report. We are five in number. One of the reasons for dissenting is lack of public participation. The two days we were given, we were only able to sit for two hours,” he said.

The protest against the report was triggered by Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang, who claimed that LSK was denied an opportunity to air its views. Muturi consequently gave the committee three days to allow those with views to make their submissions.

“If public participation is raised at this stage, you are preparing the ground for its challenge in court. Therefore, even if you proceed to the second reading, the evidence is already in the Hansard. If some of your members have raised issues of public participation, the lesson learnt is that we should listen to those concerns,” the Speaker said.

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