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Keep emotions and bribery out of committees, Muturi tells MPs.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has warned MPs against misconduct during committee sessions following claims of bribery to defend people who face them.

Muturi warned on Wednesday of consequences including removal from the committees if the lawmakers are found guilty of this and other offences.


The warning came after Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Town) highlighted several problems in the house.

Duale said some MPs have resorted to calling press conferences to demean colleagues they sit with in committees.

He further said that due to greed for money, some MPs attend sessions as friends of committees but lock out rightful members.

"It is worrying that some members pack rooms leaving actual members with no places to sit. Imagine a committee with only the chair and friends who have no vote," he said.

"Sittings have become a parade where you cannot distinguish witnesses, suspects and MPs. We have seen these members on live television hugging, embracing and exchanging pleasantries with accused persons who appear before them. This has left the public with a negative perception," he said.

The MP noted the need for guidelines for the induction of new members into committees.

Duale's sentiments were echoed by Minority Leader John Mbadi (Suba South) who said committee sessions must follow the threshold set by the plenary.

"The craving for media attention is doing members more [harm than good]. They have resorted to rent-seeking missions and turn rowdy during committee proceedings," Mbadi said.

He took issue with how Kieni MP Kanini Kega handled the probe on the importation of contraband sugar.

Mbadi said Kega, who is chairperson of the Trade and Investment committee, failed to take charge of the joint committee on Trade and Agriculture that was probing the scam.

"He allowed members to become rowdy. They started exchanging words as suspects watched while folding their hands. How could he, yet there is the possibility that the sugar being consumed by millions of Kenyans is poisonous?

"How do you go to a committee and become so emotional that you defend a CS as if you work for his or her docket? We have allowed money to change hands so that we can defend these CSs."

Mbadi said "serious investigations" into the bribery allegations were launched and that MPs found guilty will be removed from committees.

"We have allowed ourselves to be called 'Mpigs' because of such conduct. This should not be viewed as witch-hunt as these small handouts have cheapened our oversight role to the extent that we hug people accused of murder," he said, adding it was not too late to 'clean' the house.


In his address, Muturi said it is unfortunate that such things happen and that investigations will help restore sanity and integrity.

The Speaker further directed departmental committees to prepare lists of members who have been dodging committee sessions for possible disciplinary action.

He said it was established that some have never attended the sessions while some make technical appearances.

"If such members feel they have no time for sittings, why should they pretend? We have serious members who can sacrifice and sit through sessions," he said.

Muturi cautioned the MPs against becoming emotional and defending cabinet secretaries and other people who appear before them.

"You have no business defending people appearing before you. Let them speak for themselves as at the end of the day, you act as judges who determine the next courses of action," he added.
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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jul 4, 2018
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