Uhuru’s 2017 decision to sanction the appointment of Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) once again split the National Assembly on Tuesday, October 8, with a new debate rising over the overlap of roles between the CAS, principal secretaries and the cabinet secretaries.
The Standard reported on Wednesday, October 9, that the argument was raised after Kimilili MP Didymus Barasa rejected an answer by Health CAS Rashid Amana, claiming that he was not the right person to reply to the query.
The MPs complained that it was hard to question CASs on issues concerning their representative ministries since they could not be held accountable for their decisions because their roles were not defined by the constitution.
Leader of majority Aden Duale expressed his lukewarm approach to the presence of the CASs in the chambers to answer to queries, stating that he opted to wait for instructions from the speaker on what to make of the positions.
“The CASs are doing a good job, but whether they can appear before parliamentary committees or not, it is for the speaker to decide,” he was quoted.
The leader of the minority, John Mbadi, expressed his regret at the unconstitutional creation of the position, stating that it was almost certainly too late to remedy the situation.
“It was a wrong move. What I don’t know is how we will deal with it. The president has created positions that are not in the constitution. The horse has bolted, and I do not know how we are going to help it,” he was quoted.
Not all MPs shared the same position, however.
Kajiado South legislator Katoo Ole Mitito argued that he had no problem with the CASs sanctioned presence in the chambers per se.
He argued that he only took issue with the clarifications that might have been needed after the CASs had read out the answers handed to them by their bosses, stating that they were limited when it came to making key decisions and providing intimate information.
Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya clarified that so long as the CASs had statements signed by their respective CSs sanctioning their appearance before parliamentary committees, then they should be allowed to state their case.
Speaker Justin Muturi is set to rule on whether the CASs can appear before National Assembly Committees to respond to queries.