100 MPs sign petition to kick out CS Macharia

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia. IMAGE/COURTESY

At least 100 members of the National Assembly had by Wednesday signed a petition to have Mr James Macharia sacked as Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary.

The petition by Nyali MP Mohamed Ali accuses Mr Macharia of violation of the Constitution and gross misconduct noting that he is not fit to continue serving in the Cabinet.

The petition accuses Mr Macharia of misleading Parliament that he had lifted his policy directive last year that all containers from the port of Mombasa must be transported on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).

Mr Ali notes that although the move has led to many container freight companies closing their business on top of killing the economy of Mombasa, on several occasions, the CS had lied to Parliament that he had allowed the cargo to be transported on road “when the opposite was actually happening.”

That he failed to engage the stakeholders and that his directive was not subjected to public participation as required by the Constitution, the CS had not only violated the Constitution but abused it, according to Mr Mohamed.

“Mr Macharia continues to forcefully evacuate cargo to Naivasha ICD disregarding the freedom of choice, public participation and infringement of human rights,” Mr Ali says in the petition, whose signatories cut across the political party divide in the National Assembly.

However, an unperturbed Mr Macharia said: “This is a democratic country and it is allowed to have people express this right. However it will not distract us from the good work we are doing in building this country.”

he petition is backed by a Senate Hansard report quoting Mr Macharia saying that his directive that cargo from Mombasa strictly use SGR was no longer in implementation.

“This is perjury by a whole CS. He has lied on oath. What I am praying is that the National Assembly finds this man unsuitable to hold the office  in the Cabinet,” he said.

Article 152 (6) provides that a member of the National Assembly, supported by at least one-quarter of all the members of the assembly, may propose a motion requiring the President to dismiss a Cabinet Secretary.

The National Assembly has 349 members meaning that those required to sign the petition must be at least 88 MPs. Mr Mohamed already has 100.

Grounds for removal include gross violation of the Constitution or of any other law, crime under national or international law or gross misconduct.

If such a motion is supported by at least one-third of the members of the National Assembly (117), the House shall appoint an 11-member select committee to investigate the matter.

The select committee shall, within 10 days, report to the House whether it finds the allegations against the CS to be substantiated.

The CS has the right to appear and be represented before the select committee during its investigations. If the select committee reports that it finds the allegations unsubstantiated, no further proceedings shall be taken.

However, if the allegations are substantiated, the National Assembly shall afford the CS an opportunity to be heard and vote whether to approve the resolution requiring the Cabinet Secretary to be dismissed.

If a resolution requiring the President to dismiss a CS is supported by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, the Speaker shall promptly deliver the resolution to the President and the President shall dismiss the CS.