National Assembly has now gone rogue, declare Senate members

REVENGE MISSION: Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula leave the Senate chambers yesterday.Photo/Monicah Mwangi
REVENGE MISSION: Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula leave the Senate chambers yesterday.Photo/Monicah Mwangi

THE senators yesterday described the National Assembly as a rogue House, outraged at how MPs have been playing their legislative role.

The senators also decided to form a select committee to audit the constitution and come up with amendments to make the Senate the Upper House.

In a special sitting that kicked off in the morning and lasted through the afternoon, the senators expressed concerns that “the Lower House has been disregarding us.”

Last week the National Assembly approved the Division of Revenue Bill after slashing the budget allocations of the Senate, the Judiciary and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, as members vented their anger on institutions that have in the past worked against their interests.

In a move that has sparked off fresh supremacy battles between senators and members of the National Assembly, the MPs slashed the allocations to the Upper House by Sh1 billion and cut the allocation to the Judiciary by Sh800 million to cover for the additional Sh3.2 billion increased allocation to the counties.

“Noting that from their express pronouncements as broadcast on live national television and appears in the official report of the proceedings of the National Assembly of that day, Members of the National Assembly were clear that their decisions on the re-allocations were motivated by bad faith and by a desire for revenge or punishment of the affected constitutional organs and institutions for the actions or decisions taken by those organs and institutions in accordance with the constitution and the law,” the motion by Majority leader Kithure Kindiki said.

The committee, which is expected to conclude and submit its inquiry report in three months, is also expected to recommend that the Senate should be given the mandate of vetting public office nominees.

The move to demand to vet public officers was informed by the National Assembly’s controversial refusal to approve Dr Monica Juma’s nomination as Secretary to the Cabinet.

“It is now clear that the members of the Lower House were on a revenge mission after Madam Juma demanded for order from them. It should now be made mandate of the Senate to vet public officers,” Nominated Senator Naisula Lesuuda said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who moved the motion on behalf of Kindiki, said the senators are now ready for a national referendum.

“We believe that if we have to strengthen devolution there must be certain constitutional amendments to strengthen this House. We have only disagreed with our Cord colleagues on the timing of the referendum. The committee must now come up with the middle ground on the dates of the referendum,” he said.

“This committee must come back to the House with certain legislative amendments they think are necessary to strengthen the Senate and other independent institutions,” Murkomen said.