Defiant MPs summoned to State House
11 months ago, 18 Jan 06:03
President Uhuru Kenyatta has summoned four MPs who have defied the party's directive to resign from committees of Parliament they were elected to head. Yesterday the Star exclusively reported how the four — Nandi Hills' Alfred Keter, Moiben’s Silas Tiren, Marakwet MP David Bowen and Emgwen's Alex Kosgey — defied a directive by Deputy President William Ruto to relinquish the seats they had won, against their party's wishes. The four were elected chairmen of the Labour and Social Welfare,Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, and Trade, Industry and Cooperatives committees respectively, trumping the Jubilee party's preferred nominees. Ruto had met and spoken to the four separately and even convened a meeting last Wednesday at his Weston Hotel with other Rift Valley MPs where he demanded that the four step down. But the MPs openly told him off and refused to resign. In addition to the four, the Jubilee Party leader has also summoned all the 50-plus Jubilee MPs in the four committees to a meeting at State House from 8am today. It is understood the President and his deputy are planning to instruct the committee members who elected the four to pass votes of no-confidence resolutions in the four chairmen, to remove them. Ruto sent the summonses to all Jubilee members in the four committees yesterday via text messages. “Mheshimiwa, This is to invite you for a consultative meeting with the Party leader tomorrow (today) 18th Jan 2018 at 8.30am at State House Nairobi. Please be prompt,” the text said. Later in the afternoon, Ruto sent another message asking MPs to confirm their attendance. “Mheshimiwa please confirm availability for the meeting at State House Nairobi Tomorrow (today) at 8.30am,” his second text message said. The four chairmen told the Star, however, that they would not make it to the meeting because they had various commitments that could not be cancelled. Keter, who is attending the hearing of a petition filed against his election in Eldoret, was livid. He accused the Deputy President of abusing his office. “This is such a petty issue. Why is he bringing the President in it? The President has a huge task of uniting the country and putting together his Cabinet and other important state matters,” Keter said. Keter has previously been a harsh critic of Ruto and fought hard to be reelected to Parliament, running against Ruto’s aide Emmanuel Tallam, who challenged him for the Nandi Hills seat. “The reason they want us out of those committees is because they do not want oversight," Keter charged. "They want puppets they can manipulate at will. We will not accept that. Let Parliament be allowed to perform its duties without undue influence,” Keter added. Among the institutions Keter’s Labour and Social Welfare committee oversees are the multi-billion-shilling National Social Security Fund, which has perennially been the subject of audit queries; the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, which has also been subject of questions of accountability in its financial dealings; the National Industrial Training Authority, which has ...
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