CLAIMS OF WASTAGE

Raila rebukes MPs over huge delegation to US meeting

But ODM leader Raila says he has information confirming House sent the largest delegation of 85

In Summary

• Lawmakers term reports as lies,threaten to sue Daily Nation for tarnishing them. 

• Say they will disband Parliament media centre and lock out journalists. 

Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati
UPSET: Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati
Image: JACK OWUOR

MPs on Wednesday protested against media reports that up to 85 lawmakers travelled to United States for a conference.

The angry lawmakers termed the reports lies and threatened to sue Daily Nation for tarnishing their names.

They threatened to disband Parliament's media centre and lock journalists out of the precincts of the House.

But ODM leader Raila Odinga rebuked Parliament for the expenditure, saying he had information the House sent a huge delegation to the conference.

Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi dismissed the figures saying it is not possible for Parliament to okay 85 MPs to attend such conference.

“It is an obviously very grave matter. Some issues are out rightly incorrect. Some members who were mentioned to be in the delegation can easily be traced in this chamber,” said Cheboi.

“To the best of my knowledge, we cannot send 85 members to the US.”

Raila said Parliament and the county assemblies whose members appear on the list should come clean on the matter.

 “The strange rage displayed by the lawmakers does not in anyway exonerate the House and its leadership. Instead, it betrays a collective sense of guilt,”Raila said.

 He went on: “The information that the Daily Nation published is in the hands of several people, locally and abroad, who out of pain for our country, felt the need to put it out if that can help stop the culture of waste and living large at the expense of tax payers that has become the mode in our legislatures. I am one of those with whom this information was shared by a section of the very organisers of the conference.”

 
 

According to the reports carried on Wednesday, Kenya is among the top countries sending the biggest delegation to National Conference of State Legislatures in Nashville, Tennesse.

Kenyan delegation allegedly had a record 85 MPs from both Houses led by speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Ken Lusaka (Senate).

The delegation also had representatives from county assemblies, clerks and support staff.

PSC secretary Jeremiah Nyegenye – who is part of the delegation - when contacted promised to reply to our queries but had not by the time of going to press.

 

National Assembly clerk Michael Sialai when contacted declined to comment on the issue referring any inquiry to the Speaker.

“I have no comment on that. Please ask the Speaker,” Sialai said.

Contributing to a matter raised by Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati, the legislators accused the media of running a negative campaign against the House and vowed not to sit and watch as their reputation is soiled.

“Parliament has a communication system. We must direct the clerk that this matter must be clarified. Parliament must make a formal complaint to the Media Council of Kenya. Parliament must sue the Nation Media,” said Majority Leader Aden Duale.

“We want the clerk to give the right position. How do you send 85 members? It has never happened before.”

Alego Usonga MP Sam Atandi questioned the relevance of media centre at Parliament saying it was high time it was closed.

“The issue touches on the integrity of these honourable members. The first mistake was made when Parliament established a media centre,” added Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala.

Wajir West lawmaker Ahmed Kolosh demanded that Daily Nation publish an apology failure to which the legal department of the House should move to court and sue for defamation.

“We doubt usefulness of media houses in the House. They have no respect at all. If you don’t protect the integrity of this House you will go down with this institution,” stated Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni.

Cheboi said the House will issue comprehensive communication on the matter today.