Muturi to rule whether CASs have power to appear before MPs
By Hillary Mageka and Anthony Mwangi
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi will this week make a ruling on the legality of the Chief Administrative Secretaries (CASs) and whether they have executive powers to appear before Parliament to answer questions addressed to their Cabinet Secretaries (CSs).
If Muturi goes by MPs demands to declare CASs unfit to address parliamentary committees, he will automatically reduce them to mere administrators.
The move is likely to trigger a fresh row between legislature and Executive. The matter was triggered by Kimilili MP Didmus Baraza who rejected an answer by Health CAS Rashid Aman insisting that he does not have the authority to give the ministry’s official position.
Muturi will largely rely on Article 153 (3) of the Constitution that obligates Cabinet Secretaries to appear before committees of the National Assembly or the Senate to answer questions on matters that fall within their dockets.
In the recent past, CASs have been appearing before relevant House committees to answer to matters regarding their ministries on behalf of the Cabinet Secretaries.
This move has seemingly angered MPs who claim functions of a Cabinet Secretary are solely held by the appointed individual.
Appear in person
“This is not a function that a CS can delegate. The requirement is for the minister to appear before the committee,” said David Ochieng (Ugenya).
Majority Leader Aden Duale reiterated that members’ questions must strictly be answered by Cabinet Secretary.
“I think the Constitution is very clear that it is the CSs. We need the Speaker to give direction because we agreed last week that if the CS is not available, he can pick another date,” said Duale.
However, Duale defended the creation of the positions by the President, saying the CASs were effective in helping ministries.
But Minority Leader John Mbadi faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta for creating positions not entrenched in the Constitution.