Governors now agree to honour Senate summons

Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu when he appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee at Parliament on Tuesday over the audit report. [PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD]

Nairobi, Kenya: Governors have softened their hard-line stance to defy Senate summons and indicated they would appear before the House watchdog committee to respond to financial queries raised in the Auditor General's report.

Although the Council of Governors (CoG) has gone to court to stop four members: Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang'a), Jack Ranguma (Kisumu) and William Kabogo (Kiambu) from appearing before Senate, Mr Iria has already heeded the summons.

Governor Ruto is scheduled to appear before the Public Accounts and Investment Committee chaired by Senator Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) next week, alongside governors Nathif Adam (Garissa), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Iria.

According to the committee, this week, governors Joshua Irungu (Laikipia), who has already appeared, Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) will honour the summons.

Yesterday, Oparanya sent his apologies after failing to appear, saying he was held up in a meeting with investors and asked for the meeting to be rescheduled to Thursday next week.

Ruto stressed that they are not against accountability but faulted Senate's method of seeking answers.

"We will honour the summons even as we seek the court's directive on the matter," he said, adding: "The senators have perfected this propaganda war to paint governors in a negative light."

Ruto emphasised that governors had nothing to hide.

The case filed by the council's lawyer Peter Wanyama and certified as urgent by Justice Weldon Korir is set to be heard today. Governors want the court to block Senate from summoning them.

Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki, senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet), Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu), JJ Kariuki (Laikipia), Muriuki Karue (Nyandarua), Amos Wako (Busia) and George Khaniri (Vihiga) have challenged the governors to honour the summons and end the rift between them.

"We are not interested in any supremacy wars with governors. Appearing before the committee will not reduce their powers," said Prof Kindiki.

Mr Murkomen explained that Senate was only performing its oversight role.