By MOSES NJAGIH
Kenya: Senators have dismissed as “childish” the supremacy battle being waged by MPs against them, saying they will demonstrate that they are members of the “Upper House”.
The Senators came out fighting against what they termed as a show of disrespect and belittling by MPs.
They accused their colleagues in the “Lower House” of being cheap and engaging in a “narrow and selective” look at the Constitution by alleging the Senate had no constitutional mandate to scrutinise the Division of Revenue Bill.
Members of the National Assembly had on Tuesday evening argued that the Bill, which they had passed should not have been passed to the Senate for scrutiny.
It was this debate that degenerated to a supremacy contest between members of the two houses.
Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura, Leader of Majority Prof Kithure Kindiki and his Minority counterpart Moses Wetang’ula were all unanimous that the National Assembly was wrong to ignore the Senate’s role in scrutinising the Bill.
“We have a right to consider this Bill and even reject it. We are properly seized of it and it is a constitutional mandate,” said Mr Gitura.
Siaya Senator James Orengo raised the matter seeking to know if it was proper for the National Assembly to refer to Senators in derogatory terms.
“The remarks are extremely unfortunate and uncalled for. Senate is not interested in exercising powers that it does not have,” remarked Prof Kindiki who accused members of the National Assembly of approaching constitutional issues in a pedestrian manner.
Kindiki added: “The Senate will not accept to be intimidated or belittled by the National Assembly or any other person. We respect the National Assembly, but the remarks (made against Senators) were childish”.
Wetangula termed the move by MPs as an affront to devolution.
“The Speaker of the National Assembly (Mr Justin Muturi) did not forward the Bill to us on the basis of magnanimity. He did so on the demand of the Constitution,” said Wetangula.
He added: “This is the height of insolent and indolent behaviour by colleagues who should know better”.
Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi said the Senators should not pay much attention to the cheap debate being furthered by MPs.
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“Even lions do not go out shouting loud they are lions. It is human beings who (when they) see them and scamper for safety saying they are lions,” said Kiraitu.