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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,15TH FEB 2018-Lack of business has forced the National Assembly to adjourn just a week after resuming session from a long Christmas break that last over 2 months.Two committee chairpersons who were scheduled to table reports on three Bills that were slotted for debate failed to show up in the chamber.
Storm in the house
The move by those committee chairpersons not to show up elicited fierce exchange of words with Members resulting to accusations and counter accusations.
However Speaker Justin Muturi and Leader of Majority Aden Duale defended the chairpersons of the committees but other members had no kind words for them.
“I would not like to have a general condemnation of all the chairs. They may have been busy getting views from the public,” Mr Muturi said.
The Bills, which were to be debated in the afternoon include the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Bill and Kenya Roads Bill, which are under the consideration of Transport and Infrastructure Committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing.
Debate on the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, which is being handled by the Justice and Legal Affairs committee, whose chairman is Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, was also shelved.
The debate on the Bills could not go on since concerned chairpersons failed to present their respective reports detailing the views generated from public participation as provided for in the standing orders.
When the presiding clerk called out the three Bills, one after the other for debate there was no response.
The silence prompted Mr Duale to alert the Speaker that the chairpersons were not in the House.
“I want to welcome back members and tell them that the in-tray is full,” Mr Duale said as he resumed his seat.
However, the absence of the committees’ leaders did not go down well with members present in the House.
They accused the chairpersons of not taking the business of the House seriously even as they called for tougher sanctions against the truant leadership.
Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch accused the committee chairpersons of defrauding Kenyans and MPs who came to debate the Bills.
“The chairs of committees are not working and this demonstrates lack of seriousness. If they ever looked at the order paper for today (Thursday), they would have known that they needed to be in the House,” Mr Olago said as members applauded him.
Luanda MP Omboko Milemba wondered why the chairpersons failed to show up in the House, noting that had it been a Speaker’s Kamkunji (an informal sitting of MPs), they would have showed up.
“At this rate, the House will not operate,” Mr Milemba said as he reminded Mr Duale that “you gave us these committees leadership”.
“You even came in person to ensure that Jubilee’s favourite persons became the committee chairpersons,” Mr Milemba.