Css media

Let MPs Grill CSs in House, Says Former Speaker Justin Muturi

Former Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi during the National Assembly Media Engagement Workshop at Sarova Whitesands, Mombasa on May 13, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Outgoing National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi wants the House to change the Rules of Procedure to allow cabinet secretaries to appear in parliament for questioning.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Muturi pointed to Rule 253 of the Standing Orders which deals with the admission of “foreigners” to Parliament.

He said such an amendment would allow CSs to attend plenary sessions and provide information of public interest.

“It is possible to bring in cabinet secretaries to grill in Parliament. All you have to do is tinker with the Rules to ensure that when they are summoned by Parliament they are not considered as strangers,” Muturi said.

According to the traditions of the Chamber and the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, the Chamber floor is reserved for elected and appointed Members only. Unelected members are restricted to appearing in committees.

“It is important that cabinet secretaries come in person so they can respond to issues raised rather than letting committee chairs do so, as they usually read what has been provided to them,” Muturi said.

“Sometimes committee chairmen cannot verify whether information received from SCs is factual,” he added.

Muturi said a similar proposal was mooted in the 11th Parliament, but was frowned upon by members who insisted there was no need to go against the traditions of the Bedroom.

“Interestingly, the idea is now supported by people who had been vehemently opposed to it,” he said.

On his next exit from parliament, Muturi has hinted at a stint in the executive amid speculation that he is being considered for a cabinet post.

“I have spent many years in the judiciary and parliament. There is a branch of government in which Muturi has not served…after my move, I hope to be able to practice implementation of the many programs we have for Kenyans,” Muturi said.

At the same time, he said the majority and minority sides of parliament would be decided by the president, especially if there was a dispute.

Speaking to the press in his former office, Muturi also said majority and minority might change halfway through the life of parliament.

He cited a decision in 1993 during a dispute over the identity of the opposition leader between former lawmakers Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Kenneth Matiba. He said the leader of the opposition depended on the number of votes obtained by the presidential candidates.

Jaramogi and Matiba had contested the 1992 presidential election, where Matiba was second to late former president Daniel Moi.