SOME members of the the National Assembly Committee on Defense and Foreign Relations already want the National Intelligence Service Director General Michael Gichangi relieved off his duties.
They are angry over the failure to prevent the Westgate terrorist attack that claimed at least 67 lives with over 200 others injured. Yesterday Gichangi appeared before the committee but the meeting lasted barely 20 minutes as the members "had not prepared to engage the NIS boss over the terror attack," according to one MP.
Gichangi had requested that the committee meeting should be public so he could defend himself. However committee chairman Ndung'u Gethenji ruled that it should be behind closed doors.
NIS officers told the Star on Wednesday that the NIS had warned the police last week that an attack on the Westgate shopping mall was imminent and that it was not their fault.
During the short meeting yesterday morning, MPs expressed their anger that the NIS and other security agencies had failed to guarantee the security of Kenyans. A senior NIS officer later told the Star that the agency did not present its position to the committee as the meeting was postponed.
"The MPs agreed that we present our report in a joint committee meeting of both the Defence committee and the committee for National Security," said the official.
"Our boss only went in to hear what the committee had agreed," said the official. However some Defence committee members have already decided that Gichangi should be removed for incompetence and violation of the constitution.
They are likely to make the charges in a report to be tabled in the National Assembly after they have completed their investigation into the Westgate attack.
The committee will first need to conduct interviews with security agencies including the NIS, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, CID director Ndegwa Muhoro and Internal Security secretary Joseph Ole Lenku.
The committee will vote to determine its final resolution before the report is presented to the House. Defence committee chairman and Tetu MP Ndung'u Gethenji said the committee will set another date to grill Gichangi. He said the Westgate attack was not listed on the agenda for yesterday's meeting.
"The session was a closed affair because the agenda was separate from the terror attack incident. The DG was to preset a report on the Kenya's border security situation with Somalia. We resolved to set the agenda for the next meeting and we have already given him the notice that we will be calling him again," said Gethenji.
He confirmed that the Defense committee has agreed to meet Gichangi in a joint session with the Administration and National Security committee chaired by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama.
"We will have in-depth and unforgiving investigations with those to be summoned. Security agencies found responsible for the Westgate attack will be brought to book. The time for taking responsibility and accounting has come," Gethenji said. He appealed for those with information to file their submissions with the Clerk of the National Assembly.
MPs have been publicly calling for Gichangi's replacement and a total restructuring of the NIS. On Thursday, the Star reported that Gichangi was willing to testify before the Defense committee in an open session. Yesterday, the Star learned that Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia opposed the NIS boss testifying in public as well as the committee chairman.
"Most members of the committee believe that Gichangi should go because they believe that he will make the president fail. But after the director general goes, the leadership of the defense committee should also change because members believe that its close association with the executive has compromised its independence," one MP said.
"We had arranged today's meeting to remove them but going with the mood of the country after the terror attack, we held back to send the DG home first. We will be signing the petition to remove them soon," he said.
The removal of the NIS boss from office can only be effected through an investigative tribunal appointed by the president to make recommendations to him.