You’re misleading Uhuru, MPs tell Attorney General

Monday, September 28th, 2020 00:00 |
Attorney General Kihara Kariuki. PD/File

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki has come under heavy criticism following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s  directive for the merger of three State agencies. 

Senators now accuse Kihara of misadvising the Head of State.  Uhuru’s directive collapsed rail, pipeline and port operations under the purview of the soon-to-be launched Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN), which will be co-ordinated by the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC).

As a result, the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will be merged. Their assets and financial budget allocations will also be combined.

 Led by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, the lawmakers said that Uhuru’s Executive Order No. 5 was made in disregard of statutory laws because ICDC, KRC, KPC  and KPA are established by Acts of Parliament.   

“It is not that the President did it, but that the President is not getting proper legal advice.” Wetangula said.

 “How do you wake up and put all these parastatals under one board and one super management without coming to Parliament?” Wetangula asked, terming the President’s move a serious violation of the law.

He continued: “How do you take a giant parastatal like KPA and put it under a dying ICDC?” 

According to the senator, ICDC was there at Independence harnessing resources for Africanisation, but it is no longer functional. It only exits by name.

The lawmaker tasked a joint House committee on Roads, Finance and Budget to coalesce and summon the AG to question him on the Executive Order.

Legal advice

 “Call the Attorney General to inform this House whether he is actually giving proper legal advice to the Head of State.

The President is not a lawyer; he will do what he thinks is convenient to the Government.

According to the senator, the Kariuki, as the principal legal advisor of the Government, should provide legal counsel within the law and the Constitution. 

“Obviously, they are not doing this. As a House, we summon the relevant Cabinet Secretaries and above all, the AG, to tell this House how this Executive Order was drafted and executed in the manner that it was, in total violation of the law.”

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina wondered why the government was taking the control of public entities established under Acts of Parliament, and consolidate them into one, with an alleged argument of trying to instill discipline in corporate governance at the same time violating the rule of law.

 “We have an AG who is supposed to guide the President. We talk about having democracy in this country, but it is now a pure dictatorship.” Olekina alleged.

 “It is a shame that a legal brain that we have in the Attorney General; a former judge of the Court of Appeal, can sit there and see this happening,” he added even as he urged senators to move to court and seek orders to suspend this Executive.

Legislators were reacting to Mombasa Senator Mohammed Faki’s statement, in which he said the Executive Order vested the administration and portfolios of KPA, KRC, KPC in the National Treasury, contrary to the provisions of part of legislation that establishes each of these agencies.

“Any alteration in administration has to be done through amendment of the relevant laws.

The Executive Order is in essence transfer of the functions of various entities without parliamentary approval,” Faki noted, insisting that the role of the envisaged KT LN is not clear.

“That the Executive Order renders all the three parent Acts impotent without any recourse to Parliament, which has a constitutional legislative mandate,” he added.

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