MPs last evening criticised the top management of national carrier Kenya Airways and called for their removal from office as well as termination of the airline’s partnership with Dutch carrier KLM.
Majority Leader Aden Duale also attempted to connect Opposition chief Raila Odinga to what he said was the imminent collapse of Kenya Airways.
But Opposition MPs downplayed the link and urged colleagues to look beyond the matter to issues of substance and bigger importance. Mr Odinga has denied playing any role in the matter.
The debate was triggered by anger among MPs, including Mr Duale, who were among passengers stranded at the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi international airports last weekend as the airline, code named KQ, delayed flights.
Last December, the Senate adopted a report by a Select Committee recommending the sacking of Kenya Airways’ current management and possible prosecution of his predecessor, Titus Naikuni.
The airline’s continued troubles roused the National Assembly on its first sitting after a month-long recess, with the lawmakers diving into its recently-troubled history, the apparent high cost of tickets, the sale of jets that have been lying idle on the tarmac and the contentious partnership with KLM.
KLM has a 26.73 per cent stake in the airline, with the government the largest shareholder with a 29.8 per cent stake.
Mr Duale linked KLM’s ownership by Air France, to La Farge, the French industrial company, which he said was responsible for having Mr Naikuni in the board of cement maker Bamburi.
He claimed that so powerful is KLM in the marriage with KQ that there is nothing that can be done to Mr Ngunze, even though he heads a falling giant.
“The immediate removal of the current MD, Mbuvi Ngunze, must be sought by this House,” said Mr Duale, claiming he paid Sh50,000 for a business class seat, an amount he claimed was too high compared to what other people pay for similar flights in Europe and elsewhere.
Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo said Kenya made a mistake by agreeing to have the partnership with KLM by selling shares and it was the first of many errors.
Mr Midiwo said the investigation should also extend to the Kenya Airports Authority, which has had its fair share of issues over the past five years.
Tetu MP and Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji said the bailout money approved by the National Assembly – Sh20 billion via the latest Supplementary Budget – had been handed to crooks.
“That asset is in the hands of looters and thieves and the Kenyan taxpayer has been subsidising the asset-stripping and wholesale looting at the hands of the looters and thieves,” he said.
Credit: Business Daily