By GEOFREY MOSOKU
Nairobi, Kenya: Tiaty MP Asman Kamama and his Kieni counterpart Ndung’u Githinji have raised a new storm after clearing KDF officers from allegations of looting at the Westgate Mall.
MPs now want the two to step aside or be removed from chairing the joint committee investigating last month’s terror attack.
Kamama chairs the parliamentary committee on National Security and Administration while Githinji is the chairman of Foreign Relations and Defence committee.
On Saturday, Kitutu South MP Richard Onyonka said members of the two committees will be pushing for the replacement of the chairs over claims of dishonesty and misrepresenting Parliament.
“What informed Kamama and Githinji’s move to clear the security forces when the probe is still ongoing? We are demanding they quit,” Onyonka, a member of the Defence and Foreign Relations committee, said.
The ODM legislator said MPs would demand that House Speaker Justin Muturi makes a ruling on whether the two should continue holding their positions after misrepresenting Parliament.
Yatta MP Francis Mwangangi said although it was too early to call for the two to quit, their remarks did not reflect what transpired in their meeting when the country’s security chiefs appeared before the House committees.
“What Kamama and Githinji told journalists was not even discussed in the meeting, those were their opinions, which do not reflect the wishes of the majority,” Mwangangi said.
He said, the work of the committee is not to whitewash or cleanse anyone but find the truth of what transpired in the mall, adding that it was unfortunate the two chairs had decided to clear soldiers at a time when the probe was still ongoing.
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“The security chiefs have not even concluded their presentations and we have not interviewed the mall owners. We are yet to view all footages to come to that conclusion,” he said.
Mwangangi, a member of the Security committee, added: “For now I can’t ask them to quit but be cautious on how they handle themselves. However, in future if their conduct becomes unbearable, we will have no option other than to oust them.”
On Thursday the co-chairs caused a furore whey they exonerated the military from any blame following a spate of looting that was reported in the mall during the security operation.
“Not all Kenyans are as forthright and honest as you may like and some will use the cover of Westgate to circumvent terrorism and claim looting to seek compensation from insurance firms,” Githinji said adding that the traders were also eyeing the government’s initiative to help them recover their lost property.
Kamama added: “We want to confirm to the media and Kenyans that from what we have seen, no officer from KDF looted as alleged and we want to appeal to Kenyans in the social media to desist from besmirching and maligning the name of KDF.”
But CCTV footage aired on KTN’s The Inside Story and Jicho Pevu on Friday showed images of KDF officers carrying bags from some shops inside the mall. Department of Defence is yet to respond to the latest revelations.