Senators censure Mudavadi, two CSs for snubbing summonses

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Senators have protested the failure of Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u and Energy Cabinet Secretary Davies Chirchir to appear before the Senate plenary to answer questions.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi informed the House he had received communication from Mudavadi, Ndung'u and Chirchir that they will not be able to appear before the House since they had pressing engagements.

Kingi said courtesy demands that the three Cabinet Secretaries could have informed the Senate that they will not be available earlier so that the House Business Committee could drop them and pick others since there are 60 questions lined up which required various CSs to answer.

“If I had powers to punish the Cabinet Secretaries that is what I would do now the standing orders state they should face censure motion with the Speaker deliberating on the sessions with what members recommend as punishment taking effect,” said Kingi.

The Speaker said that he looks forward to members forwarding the censure motion against the three CSs to his office so that the House can deliberate on their conduct after which he will preside over debate against their conduct and recommend disciplinary action.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale said it was wrong for Mudavadi, Ndung'u and Chirchir to inform the House Wednesday morning that they will not be available yet they had more than seven days to do so and they should be sanctioned for failing to respect the Senate.

Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua argued that being abroad is not an excuse not to appear before the House since the CSs responsible had sufficient time to inform the House and they should be made answerable to the Senate over their conduct.

“We would like to know if the three Cabinet Secretaries are avoiding responding to questions raised by senators, it is wrong that a Cabinet Secretary has the audacity to write a letter to the Speaker of the Senate in the morning that they are not appearing before the House to answer questions,” said Wambua.

Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi noted that Ndungu has been having his questions for the last three months and has been seeking to reschedule his appearance and it was wrong for him to ask them to go to the Ministry of Health which does not allocate funds.

Murungi said the Treasury CS should appear in person to answer the question and not direct it to another ministry.

He maintained that the House as a lot of pending business and it was unacceptable that the CSs were writing letters saying they were not coming.

Kiambu Senator Karungo Thangwa said that the CSs not appearing before the Senate were not only showing contempt to the House but to the President who appointed them.

“The Senate Committee of Transport which I chaired on Monday fined Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku Sh500,000 for failing to appear before the committee several times while on Tuesday we fined Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja Sh500,000 for failing to honour summons,” said Thangwa.

Nominated Senator Gloria Orwoba argued that the busy schedules of CSs has proven that there is a need for the existence of Chief Administrative Secretaries who will help them execute some of these duties so that they can have time to appear before Parliament when required.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said that it was the President's idea to send CSs to the plenary of the House.

“The morning session for Wednesday was created for Cabinet Secretaries and it was wrong that they were skipping appearances whenever they were required to, the House must put its foot down and ensure those who skip sessions are sanctioned,” said Sifuna.

Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana demanded that the House fine the CSs Sh1 million for non-appearance and a letter written to the President informing him of their failure to obey his directive to appear before Parliament to answer questions.

Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo said that the government must have gone through a long process to have CSs appear before Parliament and their decision to snub summons was unacceptable.

Laikipia Senator John Kinyua lamented that members had come to the House early to engage the three CSs as they responded to important issues affecting Kenyans and wondered what emergencies they had that were more important than appearing before the Senate.

Nominated Senator Catherine Mumma said that CSs informing the House on the morning of their appearance that they will not be available was the highest level of disrespect as this should be done at least 14 days in advance.

Kisii Senator Richard Onyonka said he was disappointed that Prof Ndungu who was his Lecturer of Economics in the University of Nairobi had failed to turn up to answer questions and the Speaker must make a drastic ruling that will achieve results.

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