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MPs censured over ‘malicious’ Bills

The National Assembly has been accused of drafting bills that seek to undermine county governors.

Kisumu County Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga said yesterday that the National Flags, Emblem and Names Bill was drafted with mischief and malice and was meant to deny governors the right to fly the national flag on their official vehicles.

The Bill imposed a fine of Sh1 million on anyone who contravened the law, and also prescribed a prison term of up to five years.

President Uhuru Kenyatta declined to assent to the Bill and referred it back to the National Assembly.

The Bill allowed only the President, his deputy, the Chief Justice, speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate, and diplomats to fly the flag.

Ms Odinga pointed out that just like the President and his deputy, governors and their deputies were also presidents and deputies of their counties in their own right, and were, in fact, symbols of unity.

Sovereign power

“We are reading a lot of mischief and malice from the National Assembly in regard to the bills that affect the county governments. Somebody somewhere wants to undermine governors yet they are elected by the people and exercise the people’s sovereign power at the county level,” said the deputy governor.

Odinga,  who was speaking on the sidelines of the Council of Governors multi-sectoral forum to scrutise bills, claimed that there had been a continous effort to clip the powers of the governors and undermine devolution.

The meeting, which was attended by representatives from all 47 counties and the Commission of the Implementation of the Constitution, among others, asked that governors be allowed to retain the title ‘His Excellency’ as well as sirens on their chase cars.

This, they said, would ensure that sovereign power was vested and exercised by the two levels of government. “The Constitution states that the power shall be exercised in two levels of government. Why do you want to deny the governors what is envisaged in the Constitution?” questioned Odinga.

They also called for the amendment of Aldas MP Adan Keynan’s Order of Precedent Bill 2014 to reverse the pecking order and place governors just below the President and Deputy President.

They argued that if passed as it is now, the proposed law would place governors below Members of the National Assembly and senators, yet the governors are the chief executives of the county governments.

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