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Parliament cannot afford to blow hot and cold on graft

By | November 6th 2010

The enthusiasm of the august House is so much that it has now consumed their intent and purpose.

Parliament has proven yet again it is a monkey with a loaded gun. Gets excited and shoots anything and everything. Gets depressed and continues shooting even at itself. A depressing nature but somehow the institution cannot learn.

In the past few weeks, it has fought corruption with fervour. It is the institution that has not condoned the vice and has always been at the forefront of not only whistle blowing but also investigating and pushing out those implicated.

The enthusiasm of the august House is so much that it has now consumed their intent and purpose. This reminds one of the fable of the flies and honey pot: There were a number of flies attracted to a jar of honey which had been overturned in a housekeeper’s room, and placing their feet in it, ate greedily.

Their feet, however, became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and were suffocated.

Just as they were dying, they exclaimed, "O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves."

It is not in doubt Parliament is going to determine pretty much everything the Executive does. If credibility issues are raised on the role it plays then the Executive will have reason to slide back to dictatorial tendencies regardless of the nobility of the Constitution. However, as things stand, instead of Parliament showing direction it seems to be losing it.

A meeting of MPs recently threw out the name of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and said he was not involved in graft and would therefore not take political responsibility. Indeed, the MPs did their job. However, soon after amending the report some members of the same committee were up in arms saying the document was doctored.

Before Sirisia MP Moses Wetang’ula’s head was put on the guillotine, he had said a member of the House committee investigating his role in the Tokyo saga had asked for Sh100 million. I guess this was to be a bribe to ease the interrogation.

No one picked up the issue or investigated who this member was and what were the intentions. This ought to have been a police case.

What this says is a House that could easily be used to settle scores. If a committee does a report and some members disown it, it means there was no consensus or some issues were overlooked.

Either these disgruntled members want to see a head roll regardless of the role Mudavadi played in the cemetery land saga or the committee does not want the Local Government minister to stand trial.

Whichever reason informed the decision it is time for House Speaker Kenneth Marende to rein in rogue committees or members. The Speaker too must look at the bribery claim by Wetang’ula and establish if it has merit. If it does, then someone should soon be heading to Integrity Centre for a date with the anti-graft czar.

If the Speaker does not rein in these characters, the House will be like the flies, which were too excited with the jar of honey to take precaution and ended up dying at the pot.


The writer is Chief Sub Editor at the Standard, Weekend Editions

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