Speaker Muturi: Abolish panels used to create agencies

Friday, February 14th, 2020 00:00 |
CAJ chair Florence Kajuju (right), adjusts a branded scarf on Speaker Justin Muturi yesterday. With her are Majority Leader Aden Duale (second left) and National Gender and Equality Commission chair Joyce Mutinda. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

George Kebaso @Morarak

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has called for the abolishment of selection panels used to nominate holders of constitutional offices.

Muturi in particular took issue with the way “bodies such as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have always been constituted by panels selected by partisan parties a few months to the general election”.

“There is need to abolish selection panels used to establish Constitution bodies,” he said.

Speaking during the launch of the Ombudsman’s Second Strategic Plan, 2019-2023, Muturi said constitutional bodies should be set up by legally-constituted entities so they can be held to account in case of shortcomings. 

“Establishing IEBC two years before the election, you are setting it to fail. All these things have an impact on the conduct of elections,” said Muturi. 

Intervene in crisis

Muturi together with the Leader of Majority Aden Duale raised concern that commissions were slowly abdicating their roles by bowing to pressure from partisan politics at the expense of providing service to Kenyans.

The Speaker urged the constitutional commissions  to be vigilant and safeguard their independence from external interference to effectively execute their legal mandate.

He asked the Ombudsman, also known as the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ), to constantly engage Parliament on utilisation of allocated funds in order to push for more funds. 

He added that there was too much maladministration in government offices that the Ombudsman needed to tackle.

He said if the country recognised the importance of the CAJ there would be less public litigants in court corridors.

“There is need to take this body to the villages because there is a lot of injustices committed against poor people there. For instance I remember a case I concluded in 1992 when I was working in the Machakos Law Courts, but in December 2019, I received an alert that the same case was coming up for a second appeal. A case to be in court for more than two decades,” he said.

In line with this, he also hinted that the National Assembly may be pushed to intervene in the leadership crisis facing the University of Nairobi saying the Universities Act 2012 does not give Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha powers “to do the things he is doing at UoN”.

“The Commission for Higher Education has a role to pronounce itself positively on the ongoing leadership crisis at the University of Nairobi. CS Magoha has no legal mandate to preside over that crisis,” he said. 

Duale said independent commissions were dancing to the whim of political shenanigans in the country.

“Commissions were established by the law to protect the rights of poor Kenyans, and must live up to the expectations.

The Ombudsman should go out and investigate how poor people’s land is being taken away by powerful people at the counties,” he said.

He warned constitutional commissions and independent offices who fail to submit their financial report to parliament will not receive budgetary allocation. 

The Garissa Township MP said once the financial reports are submitted to Parliament they will be subjected to scrutiny by respective committees before their allocation is determined.

Duale was expected to table the budget policy statement yesterday to kick-start the budget making process for 2020-2021. 

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