Let MPs grill CSs in the House, says former Speaker Justin Muturi

Former National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi during the National Assembly Media Engagement workshop at the Sarova Whitesands, Mombasa on May 13th, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Outgoing National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi wants the House to amend the Standing Orders to allow Cabinet Secretaries appear in Parliament for questioning.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Muturi singled out Standing Order number 253 which deals with the admission of "strangers" to Parliament.

He said such an amendment would allow CSs to attend plenary sittings and provide information of public interest.

"It is possible to have Cabinet Secretaries appear for grilling in Parliament. All that needs to be done is to tinker with the Standing Orders to ensure that when they are summoned by Parliament, they are not considered strangers," said Muturi.

According to House traditions and the National Assembly Standing Orders, the floor of the House is reserved for only elected and nominated MPs. Non-elected members are restricted to appear in committees.

"It is important to have Cabinet Secretaries appear in person so that they can answer queries raised as opposed to having committee chairpersons do it because they are usually reading what has been provided to them," said Muturi.

"At times, the chairpersons of committees can not verify whether the information received from the CSs is factual," he added.

Muturi said a similar proposal had been mooted in the 11th Parliament but was frowned upon by members who insisted that there was no need of going against the House traditions.

"Interestingly, the idea is now being backed by people who had vehemently opposed the same," he said.

On his next move out of Parliament, Muturi hinted at a stint in the Executive amid speculation that he is being considered for a Cabinet slot.

"I have spent many years in the Judiciary and Parliament. There is an arm of government that Muturi hasn't served in...after my move, I hope to be in a position to practice the implementation of the many programmes we have for Kenyans," said Muturi.

At the same time, he said the majority and minority sides of Parliament would be decided by the Speaker, especially if there are any disputes.

Addressing the press at his former office, Muturi also said the majority and minority could change mid-way through the life of Parliament.

He cited a decision in 1993 during a row on who the opposition leader was between former lawmakers Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Kenneth Matiba. He said the leader of the opposition depended on the number of votes presidential candidates garnered.

Jaramogi and Matiba had contested the 1992 presidential election, where Matiba was second to the late former President Daniel Moi.

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