Act firmly against ministers who snub the summons of parliamentarians.

Act firmly against ministers who snub the summons of parliamentarians.

Act firmly against ministers who snub the summons of parliamentarians.

Editorials

Act firmly against ministers who snub the summons of parliamentarians.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Farida Karoney, Secretary of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Lands. PHOTO | NMG

Act firmly against ministers who snub the summons of parliamentarians.

By DAILY BUSINESS
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Summary

  • Reports that parliamentarians have had to resort to threats to initiate removal proceedings against designated state officials who apparently are not upset by their summons are concerning.
  • Land Cabinet Secretary Farida Koroney and her chief secretary, Nicholas Muraguri, have drawn the ire of lawmakers by repeatedly failing to appear to explain why they have not yet implemented Parliament’s directives.

Reports that parliamentarians have had to resort to threats to initiate removal proceedings against designated state officials who apparently are not upset by their summons are concerning.

Land Cabinet Secretary Farida Koroney and her chief secretary, Nicholas Muraguri, have drawn the ire of lawmakers by repeatedly failing to appear to explain why they have not yet implemented Parliament’s directives.

Although the latest subpoena made it clear that their jobs were at stake, the two officials have reportedly shown a dismissive attitude towards MPs, casually explaining that they had accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta on official business.

This must be nipped in the bud immediately before we go back to the dark days when ministers were only accountable to the executive. This was the time when public ownership was transferred into private hands with ownership documents to support their claim. We are just beginning to get a full picture of the rot through emerging court cases.

Parliamentary subpoenas are not mere suggestions. All Kenyans, including a government official, must take them seriously. When they are honest, they increase accountability and transparency in government institutions.

On the contrary, when they are ignored, they dilute the confidence of citizens in the government and we run the risk of falling into anarchy.

In the latter case, the challenge from Ms Koroney and Mr Muraguri is raising further questions about an already mired in controversy land lease scheme, pitting a multinational company against county residents.

By refusing to heed the summons, the two have only managed to give credence to long-standing suspicions that powerful figures are pulling the strings in the background.

Going forward, Parliament must take a firm stance. For example, MPs may choose to recommend suspension without pay for officers for failing to appear before them because the challenge amounts to a violation of their employment contracts with their employers – we Kenyans. They can also withhold budget allocations to force the ministry in question to comply.

Business