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Senate is here to stay, leaders tell National Assembly

By Roselyne Obala | Published Sun, March 19th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 18th 2017 at 21:41 GMT +3
Speaker Ekwee Ethuro
Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro

The Senate and the National Assembly are set for another face-off over radical proposals to abolish the upper House.

The National Assembly also wants the government to appoint governors and limit the number of nominated Members of the County Assemblies.

The Senate has launched a scathing attack at Parliament over socio-economic audit report of the Constitution, which has come up with a raft of amendments to address the skyrocketing wage bill for elected leaders that stands at 50 per cent of the national revenue.

However, the MPs proposals can only be achieved through a populous initiative, a referendum.

The report by the Budget and appropriation committee chaired by Mutava Musyimi has rattled the Senate, the Council of Governors and the County Assemblies.

The leaders have termed the report unconstitutional and baseless as it goes against Article 255 and 256. They told MPs to respect separation of powers and functions of others institutions.

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“Anybody thinking of doing away with the Senate is out of his/her mind. The reality based on historic occurrence is that devolution is here to stay. Those thinking otherwise are anti-devolution,” said Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro.

Speaker Ethuro questioned why the one House of the bi-cameral parliament thinks it can over ride the other. ” The President recently affirmed his government’s commitment to devolution and a detailed democracy. One House cannot take lead in addressing the wage bill yet its membership is bloated,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Counties Assemblies Forum chairman Speaker Johnson Osoi and Governor Isaac Ruto (Bomet) scoffed at the National Assembly move.

“Hii ni upuzi (this is nonsense). It is like throwing devolution and the Constitution away. It is an insult to the people of Kenya who voted for a devolved system of government,” said Governor Ruto.

Wetang’ula said: “Senate is here to stay and can only be done away with through a referendum. As NASA we want to revert to the original Bomas of Kenya draft that proposed a lean structure of 16 regions. It will automatically reduce constituencies, wards and counties.” Mr Osoi noted that the MPs move cannot be realised without a referendum.

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