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Disgruntled MPs plot to impeach Treasury CS over NG-CDF funds

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u.  [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A section of MPs have hatched a plot to impeach Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u over delay to release National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) and National Government Affirmative Fund (NGAAF) funds.

This came even as the government disbursed Sh30 million for bursaries on Saturday.

The MPs will on Monday hold a Kamukunji to discuss the matter and come up with measures that will include prioritizing the disbursement of bursaries and if the push comes to shove, initiate the impeachment process against the CS.

By Saturday afternoon, more than 39 MPs had committed to attend the meeting which had been proposed by Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma and seconded by his Githunguri counterpart Gathoni Wamuchomba.

Wamuchomba said they resolved to call for a meeting because MPs were uncomfortable with the delayed issuance of bursaries and the failure of the CS to keep his word to the legislators.

“We have always witnessed delays in bursaries, it has happened this year and it happened last year in January and we must address the issue with a view to getting the solutions. The President is on record promising to never occasion the delay and he campaigned on the premise in 2022,” she said.

The Githunguri MP recounted that last year, MPs had to append their signatures threatening to impeach the CS only for ‘senior officials from The Executive to intervene and save him.’

She lamented over the lack of commitment by Mt Kenya MPs allied to the government to the quest to push for bursary allocation.

“Shockingly it appears that only the children from the Opposition side need bursaries but those from areas where the Kenya Kwanza government was elected are okay. The MPs are silent and don’t appear for any lobbying meeting,” Wamuchomba said

She said, "because MPs from the government side had gone to bed with the Executive where they dined and wine together, the region was on its own."

Out of the list of MPs committing to attend the meeting, only three MPs from Mt Kenya region had shown interest while all the others were from the Opposition.

The three include Wamuchomba, Mary Maingi (Mwea)  and Julius Taitumu (Igembe North).

However, those who have not shown interest in attending the meeting have dismissed the plot to impeach the CS as hot air and absolved him from blame over the delayed disbursement of NG-CDF funds.

Kirinyaga Women Representative Njeri Maina said Prof Ndung'u had nothing to do with the shortage of funds that the government was experiencing and instead apportioned the blame to all MPs.

“We have totally failed in our legislative and representative roles because the government allocates funds to the prioritized areas and we should review and include bursary allocation as a priority basis,” she said.

Gatanga MP Edward Muriu said the CS needs to be rewarded instead of being rebuked saying his initiatives to revive the economy were bearing fruits.

“He has done a commendable job. Recently, he released Sh35 billion in capitation funds for our primary schools and things are getting better gradually. Nobody has abdicated their responsibility,” the MP said.

Muriu said the move to pile pressure on the government was good but not necessary.

The plot to impeach the Cs came barely a month after MPs staged a walk out of the chambers barely an hour after the afternoon sitting had commenced protesting delayed disbursement of bursary forcing a quorum hitch which led to the House being adjourned prematurely.

As they stormed out, some were heard shouting “no bursaries, no recess” while others sang “solidarity forever for the bursaries makes us strong.”

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Shollei was forced to adjourn the House prematurely after ringing the quorum bell twice.

On a point of order, Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi pointed out that the 100 per cent secondary school transition will trigger a crisis for learners from poor households if the NGCDF funds are not released before January.

“The House would be in order to decline to transact any other business in sympathy in expressing empathy with the thousands of children of poor Kenyans out there, the children of hustlers, who are suffering out there, not knowing how they will go back to school,” he said.

Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa told the House that he has engaged the National Treasury on the matter seeking commitment on when the disbursement will be made as MPs head to recess.

“I listened to many members who came to my office last week and that is what is bothering many of us. Is money especially for bursaries and therefore we have asked the National Treasury and NG-CDF if they know what is provided for in law, the maximum for bursaries with or without the proposal,” he said.

While addressing the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning the CS said much of the money the government had collected had been spent on combating drought and El Nino rains, which came in succession.

Ndung'u admitted that the situation was so bad that the Treasury was unable to pay salaries on time and was in arrears. 

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