Speaker slams brakes on House Committee efforts to arbitrate TSC-KNUT dispute
The Departmental Committee on Education and Research has been directed to refrain from revisiting the current disputes between the TSC and KNUT until they are determined by the Courts.
In a long-winded guidance issued through his Communication to the House this afternoon, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Justin Muturi once again called on the Members who represent Special Interests to always declare interests when considering the said interests in the House and its Committees in accordance with the Standing Orders.
"Honourable Members, I hasten to caution that it is not in public interest that the Committee revisits the long standing suits between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC )and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT)
The Communication was necessitated by a letter by the Teachers Service Commission to the Leader of the Majority Party and the Clerk of the National Assembly, seeking guidance on the 'unusual sequence of events and voicing the Commission’s reservations about its active participation in Parliament on a matter which is active in Court'.
The Speaker issued his guidelines following actions arising from a meeting convened on 11th August 2020, by the Departmental Committee on Education and Research and which was attended by the Leadership of Teachers Service Commission and senior officials of both the Kenya National Union of Teachers(KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET). After the meeting where a raft of proposals were made as way forward on the ongoing impasse between TSC and KNUT, the former wrote to the Commission urging it to implement the resolutions which KNUT claimed had arisen from the aforementioned meeting.
In his Communication, Speaker reminded the Members that he had in the past cautioned Members nominated to represent the youth, persons with disabilities and workers of the need to avoid conflict of interest between their personal and public interests as required by Chapter 6 of the Constitution, the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012, the Public Officer and Ethics Act 2003, and the Parliamentary and Privileges Act, 2017. He further stressed his earlier directive to Members that they must at all times declare their interest on any matter before the House or a Committee.
While guiding the House on the matter, the Speaker ruled that the information quoted in the letter of the KNUT to TSC constituted deliberations of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research which are yet to be brought to the House in form of a report. He warned that publication or disclosure of Committee proceedings before they are tabled in the House could constitute a breach of privilege.
The Speaker has since directed that the recommendations of a Committee are not to be implemented prior to being considered and adopted by the House, unless the law or Standing Orders provide otherwise. He however stated that at any stage, parties are free to take counsel of the views of the Committee as the views largely represent the views of the people's representatives.
The full Communication is available on http://www.parliament.go.ke/the-national-assembly/house-business/communication-from-chair