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Parliamnet experiences quorum hitch as MPs attend voters drive

Quorum hitch is affecting Parliamentary business as most of the lawmakers decamp to their counties to lure voters ahead of the next general election.

Some legislators are worried they stand to lose their supporters to their rivals who have started early campaigns, if they concentrate on legislative and oversight roles in Parliament.

Unlike before when the quorum bell could be rang to alert lawmakers within Parliamentary precincts to come and participate during voting of bills in the chamber, nowadays, House sessions usually start late due to lack of quorum.

The lawmakers say they have to balance between being in Parliament and serving their electorates.

“Representation is also part of our core mandate. But, there are those who are perennial absentees in the House and those are the ones voters should be worried about,” Nyamira Senator Kennedy Mong’are said on Friday.

BUSY CUTTING DEALS

Mr Mong’are who is a presidential aspirant appealed to Kenyans to desist from electing leaders on the basis of their financial muscles or from families that have been in politics and focus on those who understand the needs of ordinary Kenyans.

“They don’t care about attending the parliamentary sessions because they are busy cutting deals elsewhere. It is unfortunate that voters end up re-electing such leaders at the expense of committed ones,” Mr Mong’are said.

But, Senate Majority Leader, Prof Kithure Kindiki sought to downplay claims that the lawmakers have absconded their duties.

He said the lawmakers are keen to finalize matters scheduled for this final session, specially bills with constitutional timelines and finance related Bills to ensure service delivery, ahead of the next general election.

INDEFINITE RECESS

“It is a race against time. We shall only not take an indefinite recess in June for those eyeing political seats to participate in the party primaries,” Prof Kindiki said yesterday in Nairobi.

He said there will be no disruption of Parliament, until August 8, when Kenyans will go to the polls to elect leaders.

Already, he said, Senators are upbeat to start processing the Division of Revenue Bill 2017 that has been submitted to the Senate from the National Assembly.

The bill determines the amount of funds allocated for devolved functions in the 47 counties and governors want Senators to re-consider the equitable share for the 2017/18 financial year that they said is inadequate.

PRESIDENTIAL ASSENT

Treasury agreed with the resolution by the National Assembly to reduce the allocation to counties’ equitable share from Sh299.1 billion to Sh291.1 billion and the reduction of conditional allocations by Sh1.4 billion.

The Senate will later agree on the County Allocation of Revenue Bill that divides among the counties the revenue allocated to the county level of government.

The two Bills must be passed by both Houses before being referred to the President for assent.

Previously, the National Assembly and the Senate have engaged in a push and pull over the appropriate amount the counties deserve prompting the two Houses to form a mediation committee to strike a compromise.

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