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Kenya: MPs Accuse Defence Committee Chair of Poor Leadership

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tetu MP Ndung'u Gethenji faces ouster from his leadership of the Defense and Foreign Relations committee of the National Assembly after members accused him of lacking leadership qualities.

This is the second time the members of the committee came together regardless of their party affiliations to show little confidence in him after he allegedly botched the vetting of Principal Secretaries when they appeared before the committee.

The latest leadership twists within the committee came after Gethenji unilaterally cancelled a committee meeting that was scheduled for yesterday morning by communicating to the witnesses not to attend.

He did not notify the members of the decison. He did not also engage the members on the need to cancel the meeting, an action they have termed as suspicious bad-mannered.

Defense Cabinet Secretary Raychalle Omamo, her Foreign Affairs counterpart Amina Mohammed and the Director General- National Intelligence Service Michael Gichangi were to appear before the committee to provide "critical information."

However, the members were united in surprise when they turned up at the continental House, the meeting venue without the chairman and his vice chair Barre Shill (Fafi) showing up. The duo did not even have the courtesy of notifying the members of the cancellation.

The committee had summoned the trio over claims of Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) underhand involvement in charcoal trade in Kismayu- Somalia with the country's based terror group Al shabaab, which it has been fighting since October 2011.

The committee also expected to be informed on the impact the latest developments had on the country's foreign policy and its homeland security related concerns and across the border.

Members who had come for the meeting avoided discussing the chairman and his vice chair in their absenture because the standing orders do not allow but promised him of "hard times ahead".

"It is clear that the chairman has no courtesy for his members. He cancelled the meeting without even indulging or notifying the members and that is the height of impunity that we will not hesitate to subdue," said a member who did not want his identity revealed.

Another member accused Gethenji of colluding with the witnesses at the time when Kenyans demand accountability in the public sector.

Attempts by the members to elect the interim chair in his absence were defeated as the members said the standing orders do not permit.


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