The ten-member Parliamentary Service Commission is a constitutionally mandated commission responsible for the administration of Parliament i.e. providing services and facilities to ensure effective and efficient running of parliament, preparing parliamentary expenditure budgets and estimates, constituting offices in the parliamentary services, as well as appointing and supervising office holders.
Speaker Kenneth Marende (Chairperson), Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Clerk of the National Assembly Patrick Gichohi, and MPs Chris Okemo (Nambale), Joseph Lekuton (Laisamis), Aluoch Olago (Kisumu Town), Peter Mungai (Limuru), Zakayo Cheruiyot (Kuresoi), Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo) and Aden Keynan (Wajir West) sit on the current commission.
Last month Gwasi MP, John Mbadi, filed a motion in which he requested that the Parliamentary Service Commission be disbanded and reconstituted for various incidences of malfeasance. This week several MPs called for the resignation of the members of the Parliamentary Service Commission over allegations of corruption, nepotism, extortion and ineptitude.
Some of the allegations levelled against the Commission include:
- Varying the construction contract for a new office block from 5.8 billion to 6.5 billion shillings
- Delay of the 1 billion shilling refurbishment of the parliament
- Irregular tendering processes
- Irregular recruitment, remuneration and promotion practices
Since the call for the resignation and disbandment of the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Speaker of the National Assembly, also the commission’s chairperson, has held an informal/‘closed’ meeting in attempt to resolve the commission’s issues. More recently a court case has been filed alleging that any attempt on the part of the parliament to remove any of the members of the Parliamentary Service Commission would be unconstitutional as they, the commission’s members, “are not subject to the control and or direction any person or authority.”
The magnitude of the allegations, in my opinion at least, warrants the disbandment of the commission. The allegations also raise question about oversight and accountability of the Parliamentary Service Commission. To whom is the parliamentary commission accountable? Who has oversight over the parliamentary service commission?