Shame of MPs who skip all committee meetings

Friday, July 17th, 2020 00:00 |
National Assembly Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya (left) with the President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Richard Ngatia when he paid him a courtesy call at Parliament Buildings, yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

A  new report has established that 10 Members of Parliament did not attend parliamentary committee meetings from January to October last year.

The survey, compiled by various committee clerks, shows that out of the 29 House teams, 26 held between 40 to 100 sittings during the period under review.

Committees that had less than 20 sittings include that of Trade, Liaison, Selection and National Government Constituency Development Fund.

MPs who did not attend any committee sittings include Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), George Aladwa (Makadara), Tom Kajwang (Ruaraka), Alexander Kosgei (Emgwen), Alfred Sambu (Webuye East), Maison Leshomo (Samburu County), Enock Kibunguchy (Likuyani), Rose Museo (Makueni), Abdi Tepo(Isiolo South) and Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North).

Jumwa is in the Members Services and Facilities team, Kibunguchy (National Cohesion) while Museo sits in both the Labour and National Cohesion committees.

Aladwa is a member of the Lands committee, Kosge (Trade and Industry) Nakuleu (Regional Integration), Sambu and Tepo are in the Delegated Legislation team while Kajwang’ sits in the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC).

The report came just a day after the reconstitution of various House committees following the purge in both Jubilee and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to remove lawmakers perceived as loyal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga. 

Speaking after announcing the new changes, Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya explained that they were being made because some members had performed poorly in their respective committees.

“Let me take a case of Hon. Johanna Ng’eno, he only attended one sitting out of the 75 sittings that the committee held,” he said.  An MP is entitled to Sh5,000 sitting allowance per session.

According to the Standing Orders, if a Member fails to attend four consecutive sittings of a committee without the written permission of the chairperson or the permission of the Speaker, the MP shall be replaced with the approval of the House.

The summary report of Members’ attendance shows that the legislators opted to either stay out of the committees despite House speaker Justin Muturi warning that lawmakers risk being removed from the teams should they fail to take their work seriously. 

Muturi in June 2018, directed the director of Committee Services, Florence Abonyo, to monitor attendance of MPs in the House committees after former Majority Leader Aden Duale launched a complaint that members were not taking the business of the House seriously.

Critical role

“You can’t be in a committee yet you have never attended any of its meetings. You should be removed!” Muturi warned.

The Kenyan Parliament, just like those of the United States and United Kingdom, transacts its business in committees as they play a critical role in legislating and monitor expenditure.

This is not the first time Kosgei has skipped a committee sittings. In 2014, the legislator who was serving his first term skipped a record 60 parliamentary sittings and eight committee sessions that saw him almost being kicked out of Parliament.

On the other hand, Leshomo’s absence from the committee is attributed to her engagements with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

She is a member of the BBI task force that is led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji.  Sambu’s absence could attributable to the fact that he is unwell.

Jumwa who also sits in the Parliamentary Service Commission is known for her outspokenness especially when defending Deputy President William Ruto.

On the other hand, Kajwang’ and Aladwa are noisy supporters of Raila.

Apart from those who failed to show up, another 11 MPs either attended one or two sittings out of the many held by the committee. 

The 11 MPs include Florence Mutua (Busia County)who has only attended three sittings yet she is being touted to chair the departmental committee on Education, Munyua Waititu (Juja) has attended three sittings because he has been unwell.

Others are  Lillian TomiTom (West Pokot), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) who has been a fierce supporter of Ruto and has only attended two sittings, Soipan Tuya (Narok) County)  Ngen’o (Emurwa Dikirr) one sitting  while Gideon Konchella (Kilgoris)  has attended for sittings.

Also listed are Nelson Koech (Belgut) five, Mark Lemunokol (Kacheliba) four sittings, Rozaah Buyu (Kisumu County) four sittings, Naomi Shabaan (Taveta)one sitting and Anab Gure (Garrissa County)three.

Beatrice Nkatha (Tharaka Nithi County) who sits in the National Security committee is among those who have attended a high number of sittings with 52 out of 61 meetings.

George Murugara (Tharaka) who sits in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee  attended 71 out of 75 meetings while  Simon Kingara (Ruiru ) participated  66 out of 74 sittings of the Lands Committee.

On the committees that had high attendance include National security chaired by Kiambaa MP Paul Koinage, Defence and Foreign Relations led by Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito, Budget and Appropriations of Kikuyu Mp Kimani Ichung’wa and Kareke Mbiuki’s Environment team.

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