Senator Azimio: Only Committees Can Grill CS, Not Entire House

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Ministers during a cabinet meeting at the Nairobi State Capitol on April 18, 2023. [Courtesy Twitter]

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenyan coalition has launched a new battle with the government over a move to summon ministers to answer parliamentary questions.

Senators allied with Azimio have filed a petition in the High Court claiming that their Kwanzaa counterparts in Kenya illegally amended the protocol to authorize the move.

“The Amendment to the Permanent Decree results in amending the provision of Article 153(3) of the Constitution by allowing the Secretary of State to appear before the entire House of Commons, whose Constitution allows him only to attend committees. ,” said the senator.

Section 153(3) stipulates that the Secretary to the Cabinet shall, if requested by a Committee of the Parliament or the Senate, attend the Committee and answer questions on matters for which the CS is responsible.

In a petition filed through attorney Duncan Anzara, 23 Senators Azimio argued that the House as a whole did not constitute a committee as envisioned in the Constitution and would change the law through the back door. It is said that

“To the extent that the Senate’s standing orders seek to amend explicit provisions of the Constitution without following the prescribed mechanism, they ultra biless And it’s unconstitutional,” Anzara said.

Senators who submitted the petition include Steward Mazayo, Edwin Sikhna, Redama Orekina, Katherine Mumma, Mohammed Faki, Okiya Omtata, Moses Kajang, Okongo Omogeni, Daniel Manzo, Johns Mwarma, Include Obul Oginga, Eddie Oketch and Richard Onyonka.

Others include Godfrey Osotsi, Enoch Wambua, Agnes Mutama, Hamida Kibwana, Hezena Lematian, Crystal Assisi, Boy Juma, Beatrice Ogora, Beth Ciengo and Betty Baturi.

A plan to illegally change the standing order will be launched on Dec. 9, 2022 by President William Root, who will ask both the Senate and the Speaker of Congress to develop a mechanism to allow CS to attend Congress, according to senators. instructed to do so.

“As a result of the president’s interference in Congress, the Senate Majority Leader notified the Speaker of his intention to amend the rule on March 9, which was proposed and passed on March 21,” Anzala said.

Under the changes made to the standing order, the Senate Clerk must schedule questions for the CS to answer, and Senators must be notified one week in advance.

The change also provides for procedures for asking questions when senators are required to hand written notice to the Clerk, with the Speaker having the power to decline questions.

The National Assembly has so far summoned Chief Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kittur to answer questions.

Petitioners want the courts to declare these changes illegal, invalid, void, and unconstitutional.

High Court Judge Hedwig Ong’udi found the case urgent and instructed the clerk of the Senate and Attorney General to respond within five days. She scheduled her hearing for April 25th.


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