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Governors, senators form separate teams to push for referendums

A section of governors from left, Ukur Yatani (Marsabit) Peter Munya (Meru), Salim  Mvuyra (Kwale) among others at a press conference in Nairobi yesterday on 23/06/2015 [PHOTO/DAVID NJAAGA/STANDARD]

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto will lead the governors’ push for an amendment to the Constitution to guarantee increased resources to the counties.

Mr Ruto will lead a seven-member committee picked by the county chiefs to spearhead the Pesa Mashinani initiative.

“The council does not relent on its position to get more money to the counties. We have never looked back on our push to amend the law,” said Council of Governors chairman and Meru Governor Peter Munya.

Senate also unveiled a nine-member committee to detail a road map to their referendum.

The Senate is seeking to stamp its authority in the wake of incessant supremacy battles with the National Assembly and regain its clout.

Governors named their vocal colleague Isaac Ruto (Bomet) to lead their team to press for an amendment to the Constitution to guarantee increased resources to counties on a day senators also unveiled members of a committee to detail a road map to their referendum.

County chief executives yesterday unveiled a seven-member select committee to be chaired by Ruto, a former chairman of the Council of Governors (CoG), who fiercely took on the Government in campaigns for their Pesa Mashinani (money to the grassroots) initiative.

The Senate also named a nine-member select committee to identify the sections that negate devolution gains and come up with a report and bill. The committee is expected to give its report within 90 days.

Yesterday, the governors resolved to push on with the referendum crusade dubbed Pesa Mashinani to address a myriad of challenges affecting the smooth implementation of devolution.

The committee, which comprise Ruto, Peter Munya (Meru), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Ukur Yattani (Marsabit), Moses Akaranga (Vihiga), David Nkedianye (kajiado) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), will spearhead the process.

"Ruto will be ably supported by several governors on this humble initiative.  The committee will engage with other institutions that support increased allocation of funds to county governments," said CoG chairman Munya.

In the Senate, those to serve in the legal and constitutional review committee are senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Naisula Lesuuda (Nominated), Billow Kerrow (Mandera), James Orengo (Siaya), Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni), Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Muriuki Karue (Nyandarua) and Halima Abille (Nominated).

Munya applauded the Senate for also forming its technical committee to audit the constitution and table a report in the House.

"We are going to consult the senators on their proposed amendments to the law. There are issues, which are similar like strengthening the Senate. It will be vital to network and share the challenges," said Munya.

The governors welcomed the senate's bold move as the House passed the names of nine members that will scrutinise the offending sections of the supreme law and make recommendations that could pave the way for a national referendum.

Governor Mvurya, however, sought to clarify that their Bill will not consider that of Okoa Kenya, but said governors from the opposition were at liberty to also participate in the process.

"The collection of signatures is ongoing. We are going to also engage our technical people to verify the signatures as the select team seeks to engage other stakeholders," said Munya.

And the Senate is seeking to stamp its authority in the wake of incessant supremacy battles with the National Assembly. It is also seeking to regain its clout, which its members claim was eroded during the Naivasha constitutional talks that gave rise to the 2010 Constitution.

Moving the motion, Majority Whip Beatrice Elachi said that the Senate committee will be expected to come up with strategies to seal loopholes that have emasculated the authority of the House.

Senator Orengo, who seconded the motion, made reference to a term normally used by critics of the Senate as a house of retirees where politicians while away their political sunset.

"Our Senate was not created in the image of the House of Lords in England. It is not a House of retirees. It was supposed to exercise, through legislative process, the authority and sovereignty of the people of Kenya," said Orengo.

Minority Leader Moses Wetang'ula called for a bi-partisan approach to the law review, arguing that the Senate is not in competition with the National Assembly.

Recommendations by the Senate committee will form the basis for a review of the supreme law to give senators more authority.

"The National Assembly shall no longer be able to trash recommendations of the Senate with impunity," said Hassan Omar (Mombasa).

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