Legislatures unite to defend Transport CS Macharia
Eric Wainaina @EWainaina
Members of Parliament allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto yesterday closed ranks to defend Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia from a planned impeachment motion.
Tens of MPs addressed a series of press conferences at Parliament Buildings and dismissed the ouster motion sponsored by Nyali lawmaker Mohammed Ali.
Ali, however, vowed to proceed with the motion despite what he termed blackmail, threats and bribery.
While the MP, popularly known as Jicho Pevu, accused his colleagues of purporting to withdraw from the petition allegedly after being bribed and coerced, Macharia’s supporters accused the Nyali MP of pushing an extortion campaign.
Coming to Macharia’s defence were Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) Lillian Gogo (Rangwe), John Mwirigi (Igembe South), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Sophia Abdi (Ijara), Ayub Savula (Lugari), Ali Mbogo (Kisauni), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Sabina Chege (Murang’a).
They rubbished graft allegations against Macharia, terming them self-driven and vowed to defeat his motion.
Ali has already forwarded the motion to the National Assembly Clerk, but pro-Macharia MPs urged Speaker Justin Muturi not to admit it on grounds that it does not meet the threshold.
Nyoro, an ally of the DP Ruto, described Macharia as the face of hard work in the Jubilee government and pledged to stand with him. He accused Ali of misleading members into signing the motion.
Nyoro challenged Ali, also a Ruto supporter, to drop the impeachment bid because he was undertaking “an exercise in futility” with no support from members.
“Those (MPs) who are against Ali’s motion are more than 150; so Ali we know that you don’t have the numbers. Stop wasting time of Kenyans and that of the House,” said the MP.
In his motion, Ali has accused Macharia of disregarding stakeholders views in implementation of ministry projects by not conducting public participation as well as stakeholder engagement meetings.
He cited the minister’s order on the use of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to transport cargo from Mombasa to Naivasha inland container depot, whose implementation was yesterday suspended by the High Court.
The MP also says that it was during Macharia’s tenure at the Ministry of Health that Afya House was rocked by a Sh5.2 billion scandal.
Macharia has himself dared Ali to go ahead with collection of signatures from legislators, saying his efforts would be futile.
“This is not going to shake me because I work under President Uhuru Kenyatta and I am one of his soldiers.
We have two years to go and there is a lot of work to do to fulfill what the government promised to the public,” he said.
Yesterday, the MPs said there has been a well-scripted campaign to smear Macharia’s name so that he can be dropped in an alleged looming Cabinet shuffle.
“We have noted that there has been a deliberate campaign to taint the name of CS Macharia, who is undoubtedly one of the hardworking men in government and who have performed well. They want to make him look incompetent,” said an MP.
Gogo, with the backing of some coast lawmakers, accused Ali of pushing the impeachment bid with ulterior motives, claiming that his intention is to extort money fromMacharia who runs a heavily budgeted docket.
“Our work (as MPs) is oversight but not oversight that is related to extorting money from people. We are not going to allow you as a Member to come and malign the name of the CS,” said the ODM legislator.
But Ali, a former journalist, in a lonely presser in Parliament Buildings, fired back and accused his colleagues who defended Macharia of being bribed and succumbing to threats to withdraw from the motion which he said had support of over 100 members by Wednesday.
“Macharia is trying to mobilise Members of Parliament. Yesterday (Wednesday), he met close to 20 MPs from the Coast region.
“My motion is not about Macharia as a person but the interest of the people of Kenya,” the MP said.
Ali claimed that some of the MPs had been threatened with criminal and tax evasion charges so as to abandon his motion, and vowed to proceed as planned.