in

Senate committee to push for disputed Sh1bn fund

The Senate has formed a committee to unlock a stalemate between MPs and senators over a Sh1 billion oversight fund.

The 15-member committee with eight lawmakers from Jubilee and seven from Cord has 21 days to consider the Parliamentary Service Senate Monitoring and Evaluation Procedure for Management of Funds and report the way forward, to the House.

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki, who moved the motion to establish the committee, challenged the senators to put their party interests aside and push for a binding solution “that will outlive this Senate and advance devolution”.

The senators held a meeting on Wednesday to deliberate and provide a clear roadmap for the bipartisan team to convince MPs to support regulations to govern the fund.

The senators are furious with the National Assembly’s Committee on Delegated Legislation’s decision to annul regulations developed to manage how the oversight fund would be used.

“The lower House had maliciously and illegally annulled the regulations. For a long time, the Senate has been taken for granted by various people and institutions,” Prof Kindiki said.

The MPs have said the regulations were not developed in accordance with the law. But, the senators while contributing to a motion to establish the committee, said the MPs were being unfair to them yet the mandate of the two Houses was clearly spelt out in the Constitution.

“This House is at crossroads. This is a state of agony in the manner in which our mandate has been repeatedly and routinely undermined,” said Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula.

The senators observed that the fund was important especially at this time when “some governors might be tempted to divert public funds” towards their campaigns ahead of next year’s General Election.

Senator Beth Mugo (nominated), who is a member of the Parliamentary Service Commission, said the team supported the fund because oversight of counties was a constitutional mandate of the Senate.

Under the regulations, 92 per cent of the total allocation would go to the 47 elected senators, with six per cent going to the nominated ones, one per cent for training and one per cent for administration.

Under the regulations, 92 per cent of the total allocation would go to the 47 elected senators, with six per cent going to the nominated ones, one per cent for training and one per cent for administration.

Forty-seven per cent of the share for the elected senators would be shared equally, 45 per cent based on the population represented and eight per cent on the size of the county.

COURT INJUNCTIONS

He cited the courts saying they are frustrating the Senate mandate through court injunctions and governors who failed to honour summons to respond to audit queries.

“And there is the lower House that sees this House as an irrelevant appendage to the institution of Parliament,” Mr Wetang’ula said.

The lawmakers affirmed the need to push for a constitutional amendment to ensure the Senate is recognized as a final House of review as it happens in other jurisdictions.

The Senators observed that the fund is important especially at this time when some governors might be tempted to divert public funds towards their campaigns ahead of next year’s general election.

Senator Beth Mugo (Nominated) who is a member of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) said they support the fund as they appreciate that oversight of counties is a constitutional mandate of the Senate.

She said that some of the reasons being advance that nominated senators will miss out of the fund, don’t carry weight.

Senators, she noted, had not complained about facing challenges in utilizing the fund and the PSC was only keen with modalities to guide the disbursement of the fund.

The share for the elected senators would then be shared on the basis that 47 per cent is shared equally, 45 per cent on the basis of the population represented and eight per cent on the size of the county.

The nominated senators would be charged with monitoring and evaluating activities at the national level of the special interest groups – women, youth and the disabled that they represent in the Senate.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

1.  Kiraitu Murungi (Meru)

2. Abdirahman Hussein (Wajir)

3. Beatrice Elachi (Nominated)

4. Agnes Zani (Nominated)

5. Billow Kerrow (Mandera)

6. Stephen Sang’ (Nandi)

7. John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot)

8. Peter Mositet (Kajiado)

9. Judith Sijeny (Nominated)

10. Henry Ole Ndiema (Trans Nzoia)

11. Janet Ong’era (Nominated)

12. Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu)

13. Boni Khalwale (Kakamega)

14. Chris Obure (Kisii)

15. Muriuki Karue (Nyandarua)

‘Matiang’i rules’ that curbed cheating in exams

Parties stopped from removing rebel MPs from House committees