COUNTIES STARVED

MPs pick mediation team to unlock revenue stalemate

Team should give a report to Supreme Court in two weeks, senators yet to appoint theirs

In Summary

• Both Houses were given two weeks last month to report on the status of the process, they asked for more time on Thursday. 

• A special sitting has to be gazetted for the process to begin as both Houses are on recess.

Chief Justice David Maraga
STALEMATE: Chief Justice David Maraga
Image: FILE

The National Assembly has appointed nine representatives in the mediation committee to unlock the impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019. 

The reps are leader of Majority Aden Duale, John Mbadi, Kimani Ichung’wa, Junet Mohammed, Cecily Mbarire, Amos Kimunya, David ole Sankok, Makali Mulu and Mishi Mboko.

They are part of the team required to give a status report to the Supreme Court in two weeks after the mediation talks.

The Senate had not appointed its team by press time.

The Supreme Court had on July 31 directed the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament to, within a fortnight, file separate reports or a joint report on the status of the legislative process on the DoRB. 

When both parties appeared in court on Thursday, they sought more time, arguing that the matter is now at the mediation level.

Chief Justice David Maraga on Thursday directed the Speaker of Senate to appoint its team.

He said the court is willing and ready to hear the reference filed by the Council of Governors but wants to allow Parliament to complete its constitutional process.

Lawyer Kindiki Kithure, representing the Senate, said chances of successful mediation are not promising. He was of the view that the mediation should proceed but the court also proceeds with haste and save the country.

Kindiki, who is the Tharaka Nithi senator, pointed out that both houses are still on recess and a special sitting has to be gazetted for the process to begin.

Governors filed the reference in court a month ago seeking an advisory from the apex court on the failure of Parliament to pass the bill which has starved counties of cash. The bill collapsed following disagreements between the two houses. 

MPs wanted counties allocated Sh310 billion while the Senate insisted on Sh335 billion. The reference challenges the constitutionality and legality of decisions made by the National Assembly and the Treasury.

Kindiki told the court that the second bill was read a first time in the Senate this month. Thereafter, the bill was considered at both second and third readings and passed by the Senate on August 7 with amendments.  The Senate proposed an allocation of Sh335 billion.

The lawyer said the Senate decision was conveyed to the National Assembly on August 7; they rejected it on August 8, retaining the Sh316 billion figure as initially proposed. 

Consequently, the second bill was committed to a mediation committee in accordance with the Constitution.

The court directed the matter be mentioned on September 16 to confirm whether parties will have reached a consensus. 

Edited by R.Wamochie