Charity Ngilu on the spot as parliament expected to adopt report on her conduct
Charity Ngilu troubles intensify.
Nairobi, Kenya: MPs are Tuesday expected to adopt a parliamentary report touching on the conduct of Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu at the Lands ministry.
Sources say after intensive consultations, Jubilee MPs have been advised to support the Motion by the joint committees of Lands and Delegated Legislation, which reverses contentious appointments by the Lands Cabinet Secretary.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto reportedly declined to intervene on behalf of besieged Ngilu, citing ‘non-interference’ with the legislature under the doctrine of separation of powers.
But it is understood the action is tacit approval to express displeasure with the conduct of the Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary.
Today’s agenda in the House however is not a censure Motion, as the constitution prescribes a tedious process for the removal of a Cabinet Secretary, and Ngilu’s job is safe, at least for now.
But the adoption of the report whose findings include an accusation that Ngilu breached the Constitution – one of the grounds for removal from the Cabinet – could set the stage for the drastic action.
Sources said if the House adopts the report, any member would be free to cite it to initiate a special motion for her removal from Cabinet.
The adoption of the report should worry Ngilu especially given her apparent fall out with sections of Jubilee leadership- Ngilu herself accused some Jubilee leaders of betrayal and plotting her downfall. There is no love lost between her and the opposition CORD either.
Given, the majority Jubilee will largely support the motion, and opposition CORD indicating their support of the same, the expected adoption of the report my expose her to the process of removal from office.
The report accuses her of violating the law by usurping powers of the Public Service Commission and failing to consult the National Lands Commission while appointing Peter Kahuho as Director General of Lands.
The MPs want Ephantus Murage, who had been the Director of Survey but was moved to the Ministry of Mining, and his deputy, Baoz Owino, who was transferred to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, reinstated. The committee also wants former Commissioner of Lands Zablon Mabea to continue signing titles while Ngilu urgently submits to the House regulations to the Land Registration Act for consideration by the committee, and subsequent approval by the House.
The report recommends for the appointments of Cesare Mbaria and Julius Rotich whom Ngilu appointed as Director of Survey and Deputy to be reversed.
Although Ngilu reportedly met both the President and Deputy separately to state her case, sources indicated the two also met officials from the PSC led by chair Margaret Kobia and NLC led by Chair Muhamad Swazuri to independently verify the claims against her.
A senior figure in the Jubilee administration said that the fact that Uhuru and Ruto have avoided commenting on the saga is a clear indication of what their position on the matter is.
“Again, given that Jubilee controls the two committees with a majority of 36 members and the fact that the ruling coalition occupies the chairmanship of the committees, that tells you the Jubilee position,” a senior Jubilee official told The Standard.
Leader of Majority Aden Duale was Monday holed up in meetings with MPs to strategise on how to handle the motion when it comes to the floor of the House.
It’s understood that Duale has been tasked by the leadership of the coalition to send a communication to all Jubilee MPs to support the motion if its established Ngilu flouted the law.
“This is the property of the House and MPs be it in Jubilee or CORD will have final say of whether they adopt it or not. We won’t say what our position is now,” Duale said before disconnecting his phone to continue with meetings.
When the question was raised by Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari last week, Duale said Ngilu’s actions bordered on breaking the law.
He told MPs he will not defend any government minister who breaks the law.
Monday, another senior official of the National Assembly said he will not comment on the motion since parliamentary rules do not allow discussing the motion away from the floor.
However, he said that MPs will debate the motion that was moved by Lands Committee Chairman Alex Muiru to either adopt or reject it.
The official said any MP could later initiate the process of removal of the Cabinet Secretary if MPs adopt the report in its present form.
According to Article 152 of the Constitution, a Cabinet Secretary can only be removed from office through sacking by the President, resignation or parliamentary process.
The grounds for removal from office include gross violation of a provision of the Constitution or of any other law.-standardmedia