The government has finally moved to address MPs’ security concerns over the Nairobi Expressway, which they said could expose them to attacks as the double-decker highway overflies Parliament buildings.
MPs had said ongoing work on the section from Haile Selassie Avenue to Intercontinental Hotel compromises the safety of Parliament and could expose them to terrorist attacks.
Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa on Monday told MPs that he had received a formal letter from the clerk of the National Assembly on the matter and would appear in camera before the security committee in a fortnight.
The meeting will not be open to the public because it is a sensitive matter, he said.
“We have deliberated on this matter as a ministry and we are ready to give our response in two weeks. However, since security is a sensitive matter, I will request the matter to be heard in camera,” Prof Maringa said.
House standing orders allow witnesses to request that committee proceedings be heard behind closed doors if the person feels the issues under discussion are sensitive.
But the committee can decline or grant the wish after giving witnesses a chance to explain their case.
The matter of MPs’ security came up yesterday during a special funds committee meeting where Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut asked for an update.
“Since you are here, PS, can you assure us of our safety in regards to the construction of this expressway? You know Parliament is a tall building …,” Mr Chepkut said.
The PS will appear before a joint meeting of the committees on Administration and Security and Transport to discuss the matter.
Earlier this month, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed the two committees to meet with the Ministry of Interior over MPs’ security concerns.
Mr Muturi’s directive was a response to a request for a statement made by Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose.
“Parliament is a key national institution that requires strategic security considerations. Security arrangements ought to be put in place when executing infrastructural development projects near the precincts of Parliament as it is in the US Congress and the UK,” Mr Mose said.
China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the parent firm of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is funding the highway, with the project’s contract value pegged at Sh72.8 billion.