Governors sidelined as Kenyan senators, MCAs meet
By Roselyne Obala | May 23rd 2016
MOMBASA: Governors have been sidelined from an inaugural summit on devolution for senators and members of county assemblies that opens today in Mombasa.
The Senate and County Assemblies Forum (CAF) have convened the first legislative summit under devolution that brings together senators, 2,247 MCAs, county executives and devolution stakeholders to take stock of the legislative progress.
But governors say they are shocked that no invitations were extended to them.
Deputy President William Ruto and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga are listed in the programme as speakers during Wednesday’s official opening of the five-day conference at Flamingo Beach Resort.
No governor has a role in the forum, according to the official programme seen by The Standard.
The governors said they did not understand the motive as they had invited all players in devolution in the three past annual conferences hosted by the Council of Governors (CoG).
Yesterday, CoG whip Ukur Yattani (Marsabit) and Media Liaison chairman Ken Lusaka (Bungoma) said they did not receive any invites for the event.
“I do not know why we were ignored. I think this is wrong,” said Mr Lusaka. Yattani also said they were surprised they had not been invited.
CoG chairman Peter Munya, however, said: “We are not legislators. So we have no issue.”
Senators snubbed the recent devolution conference hosted in Meru, claiming that governors had hijacked the forum for their self-glorification. They vowed to convene their own conference.
But the relations between the two groups have soured as at least 15 senators are campaigning to unseat governors in next year’s elections.
CAF Secretary Albert Kochei said the summit would demonstrate to Kenyans that devolution was not about governors but all stakeholders.
Mr Kochei, who is also Elgeyo/Marakwet speaker, likened the legislative role to a vehicle’s engine.
“When one sees a vehicle on the roads, its not the body that makes it move but the engine. Kenyans should appreciate the role of county assemblies and the Senate in ensuring county governments operate effectively,” he said.
Issues lined up for discussion include women representation and facilitating the transition to the second Senate and county assemblies.
Also slated for debate are guaranteeing the county speaker’s office, the independence of county assembly service boards, legislators living with disabilities and legislative development.
Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro and Kochei underscored the importance of the summit, saying it would give the legislature at the two levels of government an opportunity for inter-linkages.
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