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Senators demand action on Speaker Muturi for breaching law

By ROSELYNE OBALA | March 13th 2015

NAIROBI: The rivalry between the National Assembly and the Senate is far from over, despite the House Speakers giving an undertaking to work in harmony.

The admission by Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro that there was no concurrence between him and his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi in respect of the Public Audit Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 38 of 2014) presently before the National Assembly sparked a heated debate in the Senate.

The senators expressed outrage over continued violation of Article 110 (3) of the Constitution, which requires the two Speakers to consult before a bill is introduced in either House of Parliament.

Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) raised the matter on the floor of the House, when he sought to know from Ethuro whether provisions of Article 110 (3) were observed on the bill, which is now through the second reading at the assembly. “The answer is that the provisions of Article 110(3) of the Constitution were not observed,” stated Ethuro in his communication to the House.

The senators immediately put forward interventions, demanding to know from the Speaker what action he will take over the persistent breach of the law by the National Assembly Speaker.

Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) expressed his displeasure on the matter and demanded that Ethuro writes to Muturi immediately, arguing that his actions are not in the interest of good working relationship between the two Houses.

“The bill seeks to water down the powers of the Auditor General. Ethuro must write to Muturi to ensure it comes to this House,” said Wetang’ula.

 Khalwale also seconded Wetang’ula in calling for action against Muturi for breach of law. “The debate on this bill has been going on in the National Assembly, yet this House was by-passed in determining whether it concerns counties or not. We want a pro-active action taken against the Speaker,” he said.

Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni) commended Ethuro for his admission to the House that there was no concurrence and called for a speedy decision on how best to move forward.

“This is direct admission. We have waited for far too long for this issue to be put to rest,” he said.

Hassan Omar (Mombasa) said failure to consult Ethuro on the bill is a violation of the law and therefore the House should explore other options in dealing with the matter as it had happened before. “We must assert the Senate’s mandate,” he warned.

Ethuro said he had not been consulted as provided for under article 110 of the Constitution, adding that any bill that does not meet the constitutional criteria is null and void.

“This is an old written story. We have moved to the Supreme Court and got a ruling on this matter yet we continue to face the same consequences,” he said, adding: “We have done our best and therefore the person at fault should be held responsible.”

Muturi however sought to assure the Senate that the bill concerns counties and will automatically be considered by both Houses.

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