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Kenyan MPs in new threat to throw out Senate Bills over budget row

By Alphonce Shiundu | June 17th 2015

MPs have threatened to throw out 15 Money Bills that the Senate has submitted to the National Assembly in what is turning out to be a legislative battle that has the potential to cripple the country’s law-making process.

The legislators were stung by the Senate’s scathing attack on Monday over their decision to deny the senators Sh1 billion fund. In retaliation, the MPs have threatened to drop all the Bills coming from the Senate.

Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township) asked the Budget and Appropriations Committee to reject all Senate Bills with a money element because the Constitution is “very clear that all money Bills shall originate from the National Assembly”.

Speaker Justin Muturi dampened the MPs’ rage after informing them that the decision to slash the Sh1 billion fund from the Senate budget was already done, and therefore, it will be futile for them to debate on the matter.

“We have already taken a decision on the matter, we cannot revisit it. It is not even possible to review it. There will be no debate,” said Muturi as he allowed only two MPs to speak on the matter.

The chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee Mutava Musyimi whom the senators heavily criticised, lamented about what he called “gangland-style character assassination” in the Senate. But he chose to explain the decision that informed the slashing the Sh1 billion budget that had been given to the Senate.

“There was no framework. Whereas the people know about CDF and the transfer to county governments, the fund to the senators was unclear and unseen to auditors,” explained Musyimi.

He said the National Assembly had raised many questions about the fund, to which they could not get answers.

“What exactly will the senators use the money for? How will the money be accounted for? How will it be disbursed and shared among senators? How the activities to be used for these funds will differ from the current oversight activities done by the Senate through its committee system?” inquired Musyimi.

John Mbadi (Suba) reckons that the National Assembly had no business giving the senators money arguing that the senators earn salaries, paid mileage allowance and they also have a budget for their committees to oversee the counties.

He said it was “a mistake” in the first place to allocate the senators the money.

For the Majority Leader, the Senate’s special sitting on Monday was a manifestation of “a House that was idle”.

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