The Senate Mashinani sittings start in Turkana

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The fourth session of Senate sittings started in Lodwar, Turkana County, with various committees expected to deliberate on Bills to be tabled before the House.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi arrived in Lodwar on Monday morning for the week-long Senate Mashinani sittings that have also brought a lot of optimism to Turkana.

Turkana suffered marginalisation prior to the implementation of devolution.

Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai received Kingi who was accompanied by several senators at the county headquarters.

The presence of the Senate in the Turkana County Assembly has raised expectations among locals, who want the legislators to address issues such as insecurity, food security, water, health education and unemployment.

Conducive environment

Speaker of the Turkana County Assembly Christopher Nakuleu assured the senators that they would provide a conducive environment for them to deliberate until Friday.

"As an oversight body, this is the time the Senate will interact with the local community in order to witness various legislations the Senate is making on behalf of the people of Kenya," Nakuleu said.

Nakuleu said senators will have an opportunity to scrutinise the impact of devolution at the grassroots and the impact the devolved funds have so far made.

The speaker said the Senate will have a joint sitting with the MCAs on diverse sessions.

Nakuleu said they expect the Senate to discuss rampant insecurity, starvation and the fate of 42 Kenyans who were court-martialed and jailed in Uganda. Lomorukai assured Kingi of his administration's support to the Senate as they undertake their constitutional oversight mandate to protect public resources.

"We all have a mandate to protect public resources. Our team is well inducted to provide needed support to the Senate as we respect the Constitution of Kenya, which lays out clearly the role of the Senate," Lomorukai said.

Lomorukai said it was a good gesture to have the senators in Turkana to witness the problems facing the community.

"It is good to have the senate sitting in Turkana so that they witness by themselves the problems faced by the community. When we talk about our problems at the periphery, nobody seems to understand us," Lomorukai said.

Good choice

Lomorukai said the Sh12 billion allocated by the National Treasury was a drop in the ocean, and cannot resolve the problems faced by the residents of the vast county.

Speaker Kingi explained the reason for holding the Senate Mashinani sittings.

"Senate belongs to Mashinani and every year, it is our goal to take sittings to the remotest areas of Kenya, and Turkana was a good choice," Kingi said.

Kingi assured the governor that the Senate would work with counties for devolution to succeed.

The governor later appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Senator Moses Kajwang to respond to the Auditor General's report for the 2020/2021 Financial Year.

Kingi was accompanied by senators Joyce Korir (nominated), Veronica Maina (nominated), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Enock Wambua (Kitui) and Dan Maanzo (Makueni) and other senior officials led by Clerk of Senate Jeremiah Nyegenye.