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Senate summons CSs Macharia and Maina over breach of UAE, Kenya deal

By Roselyne Obala | February 20th 2021

A parliamentary watchdog committee is set to summon two Cabinet Secretaries (CS) over on alleged breach of air services deal and trade imbalance between Kenyan and United Arabs Emirates (UAE).

The Senate Transport Committee will grill Transport CS James Macharia (pictured) and his Trade counterpart Betty Maina on the decision to deny Emirates flights unrestricted entry to Kenya in a bid to protect troubled national carrier, Kenya Airways.

A number of senators condemned the move after Macharia rejected a request by Emirates Airline to increase passenger flights to Kenya yet KQ operates 12 flights to Dubai daily.

Speaker Ken Lusaka directed the committee to invite all concerned leaders and file a report on the matter.

“The report should be tabled as fast as possible. This matter was canvassed a week by a House delegation that had travelled to Dubai,” said Mr Lusaka.

A statement sought by Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni) on the actions of the Kenyan government not to honour an existing agreement sparked a heated debate.

They argued that the State had just allocated Sh25 billion to help the struggling airline to remain afloat and warned the strategy being used will not help unless KQ management deals within its challenges head-on.

Senators Enoch Wambua (Kitui), Moses Wetang'ula (Bungoma), Mohammed Faki (Mombasa), Prof Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu), Mahamud Mohamed (Mandera) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) stressed on the importance of a win-win trade deal for both counties.

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