PATRIOTIC DECISION?

Senate wasn’t forced to accept less cash for counties — Lusaka

Members of the Nationals Assembly had vehemently rejected the senators' push for Sh335 billion allocation in the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019

In Summary

• Two sittings by a joint mediation team turned into a circus, as the sides ended up shouting down each other.

• Soon after the Senate backed off had been forced by the executive to back down.

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, Speakers Justin Muturi and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen at Parliament for President Uhuru Kenyatta's State of the National Address, May 2, 2018.
National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, Speakers Justin Muturi and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen at Parliament for President Uhuru Kenyatta's State of the National Address, May 2, 2018.
Image: COURTESY

The Senate leadership was not coerced by the executive to accept Sh316.5 billion for the counties, Speaker Kenneth Lusaka has said.

On Thursday, the Senate declared that they had reached an agreement for the money to be released to the counties, effectively ending their protracted standoff with the National Assembly.

Members of the Nationals Assembly had vehemently rejected the senators' push for Sh335 billion allocation in the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019.

Soon after the Senate backed off, speculation was rife that its leaders, led by the speaker, Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Minority leader James Orengo, had been forced by the executive to back down.

However, speaking on Saturday in Kimilili, Lusaka dismissed the claims, saying no external force influenced their decision. He said they agreed to the Sh316.5 billion proposed by the National Assembly to prevent a shutdown of the county governments. 

The standoff pitting the houses against each other had led to the publication of parallel bills. Two sittings by a joint mediation team turned into a circus, as the sides shouted down each other. The scene was chaotic.

"Ours was a painful and patriotic decision that was informed by the need to avert the biting crisis in the counties," Lusaka said during the burial of former Masinde Muliro University VC Wangila Barasa in Kitayi Village.

"We just retreated,  which should not be interpreted as cowardice." 

Speaking earlier at the same event, area MP Didmus Barasa and Woman Representative Catherine Wambilianga said they will support more allocation of money to the counties if the funds are put to good use.

(Edited by F'Orieny)