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December 14, 2018

Fresh war as Muturi attacks senators

Speaker Justin Muturi during a media briefing in his office in Parliament on January 25, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor
Speaker Justin Muturi during a media briefing in his office in Parliament on January 25, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor

 National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi yesterday launched a scathing attack on the Senate, accusing its members of wasting taxpayers’ money.

In what appears to be the start of new war between the twoHouses of Parliament, Muturi said senators were overstepping their mandate in an effort to remain relevant.

“They have been acting outside their mandate,” Muturi told the Star.

 Senators and MPs have often engaged in turf supremacy wars since the advent of devolution which brought the Senate.

During the last term, the two legislative houses constantly fought over a number of issues. At one point, the Senate was forced to seek an opinion from the Supreme Court on its mandate.

However, Muturi and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka have worked relatively well since the current parliamentary term began last August. Attempts to reach Lusaka for a comment were futile as he did not return calls nor replied to text messages.

Muturi’s attack was prompted by the decision of the Senate’s County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) to investigate and table a report on the controversial Ruaraka land.

 The National Assembly’s Lands Committee had earlier on investigated the matter and recommended further probe.

But the Senate committee led by Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang’ indicted Interior CS Fred Matiangi, Education PS Belio Kipsang and the National Land Commission for the Sh1.5 billion payout for the land.

Yesterday, Muturi said the findings by CPAIC were not binding because  the Senate has no power to investigate such matters. 

“It [the report] has no legal effect. The Senate acted beyond its constitutional powers,” Muturi said.

The role of the Senate is defined in Article 96  of the Constitition as representing and protecting the interest of counties.  This means Senators are restricted to matters that touch on counties. They also consider and determine any resolution to remove the President or the Deputy President as stipulated in Article 145.

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