Senate to hold plenary sittings in Turkana County in September

Senator Veronica Maina chairs one of the Senate Plenary sessions at the Senate Chambers, Parliament buildings, Nairobi. October 18th,2022 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Senate will hold its Plenary and Committee sittings in Turkana County on September 25-29, this year to enhance the interaction between the Senate and County Governments.

Senate Majority Whip Boni Khalwale in a motion presented before the house yesterday said that the decision to have the sittings in Turkana is a means of bringing the Senate closer to the counties and the general public at large across the country.

Khalwale mentioned the critical role the Senate plays in interlinkages between the National and County levels of government acknowledging successes made during sittings of the Senate outside Nairobi held in Uasin Gishu and Kitui Counties in September 2018 and in September 2019, respectively.

"This decision is in acknowledgement of the recommendation of the Senate Business Committee that a sitting of the Senate is held away from the traditional premises in Parliament Buildings, Nairobi, during the term of the 13th Parliament," said Khalwale.

The Senate Majority Whip noted that a subsequent resolution of the Senate was made on March 8, 2023, to hold plenary and committee sittings in the counties for a one-week period within the month of September in every Session of the 4th Senate except during an election year.

Khalwale said that the sessions to be held in various counties are aimed at promoting the role and work of the Senate and enhancing public awareness regarding the Business of the Senate and Parliament in general and highlighting existing and new opportunities for engagement in the legislative process.

The Majority Whip said the sittings in counties intend to develop and strengthen partnerships at the county level of government and provide an opportunity for members and staff of county assemblies to learn and share best practices with Senators and parliamentary officers;

"Pursuant to Article 126 (1) of the Constitution, the Senate of Kenya is established under Article 93 of the Constitution and its main role, as set out in Article 96 is to represent, serve and protect the interests of the counties and their governments," said Khalwale.

Nominated Senator Tabitha Mutinda supported the motion to have the Senate sittings in Turkana saying that the county has a huge potential and that it was an opportunity for Senators to interact with the residents of the vast county in the northern part of Kenya.

Senate Minority Whip Stewart Madzayo said that it was a good move to have sittings in the county which have vast oil resources with an opportunity for area residents to interact with Senators from various parts of the country and also for an opportunity for the leaders to interact with locals.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey said that it was important for Kenyans to understand the role of the Senate and that they should discuss issues that affect the residents of the rural counties in various parts of the country during their working tour of Turkana County.

"We hope to have as many Senate Committees sittings in Turkana when we go there and also see the work done through devolution since its inception in 2013 so as to access whether the funds allocated to the county for the last 10 years have improved the lives of locals," said Cherargey.

Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago supported the decision to have the sittings in Turkana saying that the Senate Mashinani initiative was a golden opportunity to publicise the county as one of the best tourism destinations in the country.

Mandago recommended for at least two such sittings in a year so as to ensure that several counties have an opportunity to host the Senate during their five years' tenure in office so that Kenyans know what they do while in Nairobi.

Nominated Senator Esther Okenyuri said that the working trip will be an opportunity for the locals to see them engaging in issues that directly affect them and also get to interact with young Senators so as to inspire youths who aspire to serve in various leadership positions.

Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo is one of the counties that has been marginalized for long and their working tour will enable them to understand key issues like insecurity that has really affected the region and appreciate the rich culture of the region that has remained untapped for many years.

Bungoma Senator Wafula Wakoli said that the visit to the County will be an opportunity to look at the border points with neighbouring countries and address the challenges of those who live there and in future they will be inviting relevant Cabinet Secretaries to address issues dear to the counties they visit.

Siaya Senator Oburu Odinga and Nyamira Senator Okongo Omogeni said that their working trip to Turkana will be an eye opener and opportunity to learn a lot from the region considered to be the cradle of mankind.