Kenya: Senators, MPs Fight Over Who Should Probe Alleged Graft at FKF

17 November 2021

As a football caretaker committee settles down to work, a storm is brewing between the Senate and the National Assembly on who should investigate the rot at Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

The two houses are once again entangled in a supremacy war and both are looking into the alleged misappropriation of millions of shillings given to FKF to run sports.

The Senate's Labour and Social Welfare Committee, chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, has already summoned Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to appear before it today.

But the National Assembly's Sports, Culture and Tourism Committee says the matter falls under its mandate and has told Ms Mohamed to disregard the Senate summons.

Lawmakers want the CS to shed light on misappropriation of funds and abuse-of-office claims levelled against FKF president Nick Mwendwa and CEO Barry Otieno

Ms Mohamed has disbanded FKK and formed a caretaker committee to oversee football matters, saying Mr Mwendwa had failed to account for millions of shillings.

Sports, Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Patrick Makau (Mavoko) has sought Speaker Justin Muturi's advice on how to proceed.

The Constitution limits the powers of the Senate to protecting and defending the interests of counties, including participating in enacting laws related to devolved units.

Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo urged Ms Mohamed not to honour the Senate summons, describing senators as 'idlers'.

"The problem with the Senate is that it has a lot of idle people. It has very learned people but they don't know what to do. I want to tell the CS not to honor the summons," Mr Kilonzo said.

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi said the Senate has no jurisdiction over the matter, accusing senators of trying to "sanitise corruption" at FKF.

"That federation (FKF) is rotten... . We want to advise the CS not to appear before the Senate," Mr Osotsi said.

The sports committee, said Pokot South MP David Pkosing, is the one that appropriates money for the Sports ministry.

"Even if the Senate investigates the matter, where will they take the report? Our committee should go ahead and do its work," he said.

But Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata pointed out that Article 125 of the Constitution grants Parliament, which includes the Senate, the powers to call for evidence from anyone.

"It would be a violation of the Constitution for CS Amina to refuse to honour a summons from the Senate, however mischievous the summon might be. It is better for her to come and argue her case and challenge the findings in court if aggrieved," Mr Kang'ata told the Nation.

The feud, said Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, reflects a misunderstanding of the role of Parliament. He said the comments from members of the National Assembly are based on a poor grasp of the Constitution.

"Sports is played in counties. The use of the sports fund is not a national function alone. We are not a silo," Mr Kilonzo told the Nation.

Under National Assembly standing orders, the sports committee is mandated to consider matters of sports, culture, national heritage, betting and lotteries, tourism and tourism management.

The committee is also mandated to inquire into all matters relating to the management, activities, administration, operations and estimates of the assigned ministries.

The committee oversees the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage and the State Department of Tourism.

The two houses of Parliament have constantly engaged in unnecessary supremacy wars over the past four years.

While senators have accused MPs of undermining and blackmailing them on legislation and oversight, the latter have accused them of duplicating roles, and at one point even threatened to abolish the Senate.

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